Title: Falls the Shadow
Authors: Mary Ruth Pursselley, H. A. Titus, Elyn W. Marshe
Falls the Shadow, written by a trio of Christian Speculative authors (Mary Ruth Pursselley, H.A. Titus, and Elyn W. Marshe), is a futuristic story set in the ever-gaining-popularity genre of Steampunk. If you imagine a world not so unlike our own, where technology has advanced to extraordinary levels of complexity and then imagine that every last piece of that technology was almost irrevocably damaged by a computer virus, then you can picture the world of Shandor Rei.
For many living in Shandor Rei, hope seems to have abandoned them along with the sciences they had come to depend upon so heavily. Books had become obsolete and many were lost. Those who struggle to rise above the chaos must decide whose side they will fight on as gangs and militias pave the way.
Enter Maricossa, an agent of the governing power of the White Tiger, ordered to find those books which have survived in order to destroy them. Maricossa, however, has ideas of his own for the use of such things, and shadows a group of orphans led by a feisty girl named Libby, who just so happens to know where the books are--and will do everything within her power to protect them and those people close to her. Caught in-between them is Skylar, a boy who longs to learn the forbidden art of reading and who stumbles into the midst of those who just might be able to teach him. As the White Tiger struggles for power and control, this strange trio is thrown together as they stage a desperate attempt to save what they love, fight for their freedom, and stand for what they believe in. If only they all believed in the same thing.
I thoroughly enjoyed Falls the Shadow, for a good number of reasons: First, because it is, quite simply, a wonderful tale of political intrigue mixed with the gritty struggles of street living, and all wrapped in the warm folds of a home in a library. The best stories are a combination of two things: Conflict and Heart. Inevitably, the two come together in one form or another, and Falls the Shadow clicked these elements seamlessly into place like a favorite puzzle.
It's not every day, either, that you come across a multi-authored project. Sometimes a pair of people will join forces and mix something up, but it is not often seen. And three authors combining? That's a feat on any level. Especially when you considered how most of us writerly folk function. We come up with an idea, mix in some pitiful people so that we can transform them into epic heroes, and we ruthlessly take control. We are, in many senses, like egotistical villains. Not in a bad way, of course, but in a manner which rarely leaves an opportunity for someone to come along and say: I think you should do this and, by the way, this is what my character is going to do.
Yet, as impossible as that may sound, that's exactly what Pursselley, Titus, and Marshe have done with this project. Each took a character and steered them through the varitable maze which is fiction. That's not the most difficult aspect, though. To create a more accurate picture, they guided these characters through a maze which requires each of the characters to press a level here, turn a dial there, in order to get the other two maze-runners through to the goal. The goal being, of course, the climax of the tale.
So, in short, this trio of authors have earned a fair amount of respect from me. Not just for the story--which is epic--but for the fact that they somehow managed to get through it together without killing one another. The same might not be said for their characters, however.
Also, the authors seem to be in good enough spirits to pen a sequel--coming up April 1st and titled Burns the Fire. (Which, quite frankly, I'm glad for, as Falls the Shadow ended on something of a cliffhanger and I'm not very patient when it comes to these sorts of things.)
Read the tale for yourself HERE, at the Lost Scribes blog.