Five out of five stars
In the land of Hexult, Aulf delivers the mail between a set of islands aboard the sailboat known as the Aurora. With his crew of one, a small waif of a girl named Ingar, they fly with the wind aboard the Aurora, no one around with a vessel fast enough to catch her. But in this land a boat doesn’t fly over the smooth surface of water. Instead they slide across a frozen sea of ice, a white wonderland very different from the one you and I know.
One day while delivering the mail, Aulf and Ingar come across a wrecked vessel and find two young teenagers inside, barely alive, almost frozen to death. Their father was killed with the destruction of their boat, leaving the twins, Elya and Jacob, with no family. But Jacob and Elya have a lot to offer the people of Hexult, if only everyone was as willing to listen to them as Aulf and Ingar, because the people from the land of ice have never seen a lodestone, or witnessed a blacksmith heat and pound out steel, and they’ve never watched anyone carve out a lens of clear ice and use it to trap the rays of the sun, enabling the user to build a fire. Fire could be the difference between life and death if caught out on the ice during the night.
Reliable communication is a big dilemma between the islands and the twins have suggested the building of light towers may just be the answer to their problem. In the top of the towers would be mirrors and these could be used to flash messages between the islands, doing away with the need for a carrier. No one would have to worry anymore about a message getting confiscated by raiders—whose numbers grow daily, raising the level of fear and conflict among the people. But not everyone is pleased with the idea. There is one in particular who is afraid the twins might undermine his authority and destroy the respect he has created through superstitious fear in the people. He’d like to take credit for the idea of the light towers himself and does what he can to bring the twins down.
I’m far past the age for target readers of Hexult, but I enjoyed every last page of this wonderful adventure. I can just imagine kids going to their parents after reading, curious about the workings of a compass, or trying to build a magnifying glass from a chunk of clear ice. Any novel that can raise a child’s curiosity about nature and science, and inspire the need to learn, is a wonderful deal in my eyes. And if an adventure can be gained with Aulf, Ingar, Jacob and Alya in their imaginations while they do so, then so much the better. I loved the novel and plan to purchase a copy for my eleven-year-old niece. I’m afraid she can’t have mine. That one is reserved for my own adventure. 🙂 You might have to get two, like I did—one copy for you, one for the kids. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this novel as much as I did.