Can you see the story breathing?
A mountain so great it takes a year to travel from base to summit
A sun so powerful it drives you into madness if you look at it
An ascent so vital it determines the fate of the world
A summit so precious it holds the key to the divine
The world of the great Mountain is unstable. Giant pillars erupt from the surface and yawning chasms form unpredictably underfoot. Since the Maelir first stood on its slopes in the distant past, they have sought to still its anger and control its power. Each year, twin brothers are chosen to make a perilous journey to the summit. If they survive they will be witness to Zenith, and the secrets will be revealed to them.
When Atreu and Teyth embark on their Ascent, their Talismans lead them onto conflicting paths that will ultimately set brother against brother. And this time the Ascent itself is in peril as unknown forces that have long craved the power of Zenith will stop at nothing to make it their own even if it means destroying the very thing that sustains all life the Mountain itself.
When I first started reading this book, I had no idea what to expect. Two brothers begin a journey up a mountain and during this journey, their paths begin to diverge. I wasn’t sure if the book would necessarily be my cup of tea, but the further I got into it the more I began to invest in the journeys of the characters. Their brotherly closeness is soon tested to its very limits as their Talismans begin to lead them on very different paths. The story mainly follows Atreu’s journey up the mountain and the obstacles he faces along the way.
The narrative of this book made it easy to follow and enjoyable. It reminded me of sitting with my grandad and listening to him tell me fairytales when I was a kid. The whole book has a mystical, fairytale feel about it that captures the reader’s imagination and taps into the part of them that secretly still believes in magic. It’s easy for readers to emotionally invest is Atreu’s journey up The Great Mountain; he is a likeable character with many aspects that readers can relate to. The concept of Zenith is a little hard to understand at first but, as you read on, it begins to make more sense and it soon becomes apparent how cleverly linked it is to Atreuth and his twin.
Dirk Strasser has won multiple Australian Publisher Association Awards and a Ditmar for Best Professional Achievement. His mythic fantasy series, The Books of Ascension, has been republished by Macmillan Momentum, this time including Eclipse – The Lost Book of Ascension for the first time in English. His novels and short stories have been translated into a number of languages. He also founded the Aurealis Awards and has co-edited and co-published Aurealis magazine for over twenty years.