Seth Mullins has followed his mythic quest novel “Song of an Untamed Land” (2005) with “Song of the Twice Born – Book I: The Mirror of Sirrus.” Set in a mythical land reminiscent of America’s wild west during the age of discovery, this first installment of an epic fantasy trilogy tells the individual stories of a small group of characters who live in a veritable oasis of calm in a world of warring peoples.
This ambitious novel shows what happens to individuals living within perilous times when they are confronted with the more perilous truths about themselves. A dwarf named Sirrus has introduced a magic mirror into the temporary serenity of Aspen Meadows. When an individual gazes into the mirror, s/he sees an unflinchingly accurate portrayal of his or her bedrock truths and goals. In as much as truths are quite startling, if not potentially debilitating, Sirrus provides commentary and spiritual advice.
Since Sirrus’ advice to Eden, Galya, Marek, Brieran, Ejol, Jin and Enofor (whom we met in “Song of and Untamed Land”) is often more blunt than comforting, he asks each of them to spend time contemplating the revelations by recording his or her spiritual experiences in a journal. Like any journal, each entry records the spiritual and psychological truths unearthed via the mirror within the context of memories and day-today life and struggles. Each character must not only come to terms with past triumphs and losses, but with the seeming inevitability of death or capture when either the Assymyan or Churan army overruns their sanctuary.
Mullins paints landscapes, cultures, peoples and spirituality on a wide canvas that may remind readers of such classics as Stephen R. Donaldson’s “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” and J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” The epic scope of this story is made human and vibrant by the very personal journal entries of each character. In less capable hands, “Song of the Twice Born” might have become a collection of indirectly related character studies or short stories. Instead, the character’s points of view link together well into a very real and readable transcendent adventure.