In the beginning, when the world was created, there was the Spinner, the Teller, the Healer and the Changer. Each endowed with a special ability. However, these gifts came at great cost and eventually became corrupted so that the people became afraid of the gifted, hunting them down, until for their own survival and safety those with the special abilities learned to hide them well.
Little Lark has inherited her own mother’s gift of telling and on the day the king and his son arrive, her mother sacrifices her own life for the sake of Lark’s to hide her secret. But before she dies, she not only prophesies to the king of “the loss of his own soul and his son to the sky”, but commands Lark to “swallow her words” and warns her husband that his own life is tied to Lark’s.
Years pass from that day and Lark remains mute, never uttering a word, yet despite the fact that her mouth can’t speak, her words still have great power. How much, she is yet to discover. A chance encounter leads her to be taken from her home by the new king as a pampered prisoner. Little do they know how connected their lives already are. These two must learn to work together to defeat an evil enemy and uncover truth which will set themselves and the whole kingdom free.
I’m not generally a reader of fantasy novels and The Bird and The Sword is combined with fairy tale elements also. But I have always had a special love for words and the power behind them in a way that I can’t explain, so when I finally found a story that explored this concept, of course I had to read it.
In a way, this reminds me of a Tolkien story, although I would label it Tolkien-lite. It’s a fantasy world with special gifts and creatures and yet not so unfamiliar as to be foreign. Like Tolkien, Amy Harmon’s fantasy world is allegorical for greater truths. Although, spiritual principles are not preached or even mentioned, the story begins with a biblical verse, “for the word is quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword…” which sets the tone for everything which is to come. I loved how this verse was woven into the story in subtle, various ways, revealing truth and always bringing me back from a fantastical world to the main point.
I have had Amy Harmon on my radar for a while, have read excellent and glowing reviews of all of her novels, but this was my first experience with her. Although I believe this is her only fantasy novel to date, if her other stories are anything like this, I would say the praise for her writing is well deserved. Like Lark, she herself is a teller, a weaver of words, creating real and endearing characters, creating worlds with words while never straying from the foundation of truth she reveals. For me, there is something special about discovering a kindred spirit who seems to share my wonder, fascination and love for words which live and breathe and share eternity with mortals.
So, needless to say, I have my next Amy Harmon novel already queued up on my Kindle and will expect to be an avid fan.