The last Iberian sultan’s mapmaker Hassan and Circassian concubine Fatima share a love for a poem by Al Attar in which they only have the opening lines. They continue the tale together, alternating and combining their own stories of the birds looking for their king. Hassan draws maps that reshape reality, coming under the scrutiny of the Spanish Inquisition when Fatima is too open with Luz, Queen Isabella’s advisor, emissary, and secret inquisitor. Fatima must find a way to save her best friend, embarking on a journey—guided by a jinn in animal form—where she finds her true self on the hidden island of the bird king. Friendship is tested, credibility is stretched to the limit, and redemption is found. Magical realism blends historical events and mythology well, thought there are a few too many cliffhangers in the latter half of the tale. It’s a beautiful story of desire to escape a horrid time in Spain’s past. I was given a digital copy of this fantastic story from Grove Press through NetGalley.
Basically, this book attempts to warn humans that they are being farmed like cattle across planet Earth as food for energy entities, inter-dimensional and extraterrestrial, who wish to eat souls. Redfern, author of 30+ books on UFOs, Bigfoot, and cryptozoology, takes readers through the minutia of anecdotal evidence for cryptids, some timeworn, a bit somewhat newer, all of it always fun and interesting. The book begins with an explanation of supernatural energy, or orgone, as defined by Wilhelm Reich, and immediately launches into soul stealing creatures from around the world. It’s hard to tell if Redfern is writing tongue-in-cheek, or in full belief; Llewellyn is the publisher—the latter is more likely. As with inexplicably grainy (in this day and age of technology?) videos of cryptids, so the personal stories, including those of alleged personnel of mysterious / forbidden locations, such as Area 51 (according to Redfern, there’s a secret facility miles underground in New Mexico), border on requiring suspension of belief. Silently dismissing mental illness or other more pragmatic sources, the author relays seemingly supernatural events as fact. Even with prior knowledge of the medical condition behind experiences of succubi and incubi, the chapters on these sexually demanding night creatures are disturbingly realistic. However, mythological lore is explored through the story of Lilith, who links Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity, as a relevant dark, feminine archetype. The highlight of the book is the concept of a tulpa, an entity created by focused energy of a group of people, with Slenderman being the most well known. Readers who accept spiritual entities for granted will be scared out of their wits by this book. Others who take it with a grain of salt will appreciate it for further forays into global legends, myths, and folklore. I was fortunate to receive an early copy of this fascinating book from the publisher #Lewellyn through #NetGalley.