Kynship: The Way of Thorn and Thunder, Book One in a Trilogy

by Daniel Heath Justice
Kegedonce Press (Canada) 1-800-591-6251

Indigenous fantasy a treat for the senses
Reviewed by Ramona Kiyoshk

I am not a fantasy aficionado. It was with mixed feelings that I picked up Kynship: The Way of Thorn and Thunder, Book One, expecting to find a video game in print. What an amazing surprise.

Kynship, the first in a delicious fantasy trilogy, opens with a heart-stopping bang and maintains the pace right to the last page, 

In Chapter One, we meet a sadistic killer, not unlike the Cyclops in Homer’s The Odyssey. Hideous, powerful and ravenous, the gigantic Feaster is tearing up the countryside, devouring everything in sight, and laying waste what it doesn’t eat.

The terrified Kyn, children of the forest, take cover. Their ineffectual knives and bows amuse the powerful Feaster. Tarsa, the she-Kyn warrior, stands alone, to challenge the hungry behemoth.

This face-off between Kyn and Feaster establishes an allegory of colonialism that indigenous peoples worldwide will instantly recognize. Living in harmony with their natural world, taking only what they need, respecting all life, and believing that all men feel the same way, they soon learn that their fertile lands, teeming forests, sparkling water and other riches are the envy of the Humans who have plans to drive the Kyn people from their homeland and exploit the natural resources. Many of the Kyn support the invaders, their traditional spirituality corrupted by the errant value system.

The Kyn culture is called Wyr. Wyr is the life source of the Everland, home of the Kyn, and the other forest spirits and sprites. It is the life-song of Creation and is nurtured by the goodness of its people.

This struggle for truth, territory and survival will run through the stories, but it is the enchanting characters, created in the fertile mind of writer Daniel Health Justice, Cherokee, that keep you flipping the pages late into the night. You will become fast friends with Tarsa, the she-Kyn warrior, her Tetawa friend Tobhi, sharing danger and adventure as they traverse this magical kingdom. The evil Dreyd will remind you of every greedy despot in history, and Unahi, the old Wielder and healer, will make you think of your kind, but bossy grandmother.

Characterization is woven around enchanted places, hair-raising close calls, beauty and wonderful philosophies. You can almost feel the dew on your face and smell the smoke from the ceremonial fires.

Available at popular booksellers:
Kynship: The Way of Thorn and Thunder, Book One
Wyrwood: The Way of Thorn and Thunder, Book Two
Dreyd: The Way of Thorn and Thunder, Book Three