Monday, May 4, 2020

Book Review: The High Priestess: The Selanian Chronicles Volume 2 by Peter Krausche

Three years have passed since the events portrayed in The Rose in the first volume of the Selanian Chronicles. Melina's sister, the former High Priestess, has vanished, and Melina's husband Talas is riddled with guilt because he believes he's to blame for her disappearance. Together, he and Melina decide to travel to the Forbidden Planet in the hope of finding her. Melina's friend, the High Priestess Tamenisa Larutas, has a bad feeling about the trip and tries to dissuade Melina from going. But Tamenisa is also hoping to gain Melina's help in her battle against the sinister forces at work in the Advisory Council. She knows her own troubled past is an overwhelming obstacle in this struggle, and if she can't find some answers and get herself under control, she fears all might be lost.
After the tragic events of The Emissary on the planet Piral, Nova, Catyana, and Vilam are on their way to Tolares to participate in the upcoming conference. The main goal of the conference is to defuse the increasing tensions between the eastern and western provinces before the situation escalates into a full-fledged war. But most people are attending because the conference is also the debut of the mysterious new High Priestess, who was chosen after the assassination of the former High Priestess and whose identity has been kept secret to protect her and her loved ones from a similar fate as her predecessor.
But Catyana's seemingly innocent actions two days ago, in which she transformed a large artifact from corten steel to pink granite, have had unforeseen consequences. Because of her rapidly evolving powers, someone believes Catyana poses a threat and has contracted an assassin from the Order of the Novantan to kill her. The problem is that the only way to cancel the contract is to figure out who the assassin is and eliminate them, permanently. What with the constant impressions of impending doom that have been hanging over her like a dark cloud for weeks, and the additional shock of having been torn away from her family and therefore the only familiar environment she has ever known, Catyana is close to despair and seems to be unraveling. Nova wants to help Catyana, but she doesn't know what's wrong with her or why her friend has been so anxious these past weeks. How can Nova prepare for the upcoming conference, protect Catyana, and find and eliminate the assassin, while she's so confused about her own emotions after seeing the young Lord Tolares again? Find out by reading the second volume of the Selanian Chronicles, The High Priestess



Continuing from The Emissary: Volume 1 of the Selanian Chronicles both tales continue in The High Priestess as we see slowly how these two stories are slowly intertwining into one. Krausche promises it will all make sense in the completion. In volume 2 there is The Alley, a continuation from The Rose in the first book. We subsequently continue on from the events of The Emissary as days draw ever close to the Conference of Tolares. It is here the news of who the new High Priestess is ultimately revealed. Vilam Nova, Catyana, and crew barley arrive as an assassination arrow hits their carriage marked for Catyana. It was just a warning shot thought to alert the crew the assassin is coming. The trouble is when will they strike? Holding Catyana closer to them they move on to the Conference.

At the Conference, the new High Priestess is revealed to the masses as the already existing tension between the east and west Provinces and Selanian Order explodes. This widens the theory that Vilam may undoubtedly be the Emissary, and that Catyana may be their golden goddess of hope or their doom.

The High Priestess is a book you grudgingly can’t put down. Krausche does not produce one section where you are not intrigued. Though I did wonder if certain parts were necessary as the flow of the book is very drug out. It wasn’t until I was 70% in that, the book truly kicked into gear and hit its mark. It was totally worth it, though.  Krausche delivers a delicious climax that is a feast for your eyes. The next installment is called The Goddess of Death. Giddy up folks.


Peter Krausche was born in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, to an enlisted officer of the US Air Force and grew up in Kettering, Ohio. After his parents divorced, his German mother remarried a Swiss citizen, and they moved to Switzerland when he was 13. He has always enjoyed reading and watching science fiction and fantasy, although he doesn't mind a good romance, some drama or mystery, or even a thriller. The influence of authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Stephen Lawhead, and Karl May are still noticeable in his work. The first drafts of The Rose and The Alley (the preludes to The Emissary and The High Priestess) were actually written in 1991 when he returned to Switzerland after a stay in Central Oregon. But life happens, and he turned aside from his attempts at serious writing for more than a decade. In the fall of 2003, he dug up his old manuscripts and started working on the Selanian Chronicles, a labor of love that has continued off and on to the present day.

As with the creations of other visionary artists, it's his desire to bring light into the darkness and to suggest more uplifting and spiritual possibilities of life by placing the eternal values of love, hope, and faith at the center of his message. His personal experience has been that transcendence to higher ideals is often accompanied by the refining pain inherent to the process of transformation, and he attempts to incorporate these experiences into his writing.

Last but not least, he considers himself a hopeless romantic who doesn't mind losing himself in the beauty of a flaming sunset. This personality trait naturally colors everything he writes, but he believes it enriches rather than diminishes his stories, and he hopes his readers agree.

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