Rating: 5 stars out of 5
When an international case involving a series of ritual murders lands in his lap, strait-laced and logical Agent Leon Armstrong is going to need some help.
Leon follows the trail to the opal-mining town of Coober Pedy, Australia, where he gets tangled up with the wild Russian mystic Sergei Menshikov. Despite his commitment to rationality, Leon discovers he isn’t immune to the way of the spirits, no matter how much he’d like to think. When Sergei tells him he treads a predestined path, Leon’s world turns upside down.
Leon’s experiences in Coober Pedy will change his life forever, but can he hold out against Sergei and the spirits—who Sergei claims have chosen them for each other?
I find it fascinating when authors bring in the mythology of cultures I’m not familiar with into their stories. It adds a depth to them, and elevates them to a level above those that, however lovingly, keep reverting to the same well used classical Greco-Roman mythology or even native American Indian culture mashups I’ve read.
Here immediately I knew I was in for something totally different, unknown to me, and captivating. In the often brilliant novel, The Shaman of Kupa Piti (Shaman’s Law #1) by A. Nybo, the author weaves into this murder mystery romance an astonishing mixture of elements! All guaranteed to intellectually blow your mind, grip your heart, and keep you totally connected to this story and characters through every white knuckle page turning ride of a mystical narrative wowser.
For starters? The location. That would be Coober Pedy, Australia. Look it up. Or better don’t. Because here, through the vivid, sometimes claustrophobic, hotter than hell itself, covered in red copper dust, descriptions, this tiny town of opal mining and life lived underground comes alive in these pages. So hot the heat feels incendiary and the dust itself choking. And that’s just for starters.
Laid on top of that are the miners, and the townspeople of Coober Pedy. An erasable and unique lot, made up of many nationalities of miners, each off alone at their own opal stake, men and women, tough as nails. Forgetful of time passing down in those shafts deep underground. And the author makes us feel it all …at a cellular level. From the men in the only pub, again underground to the police. And again layered on top of that is the mythology and culture of the native Aboriginals, Also Aussie slang and colloquialisms.
But that’s not what I’m talking about, although that alone would make this story special. Nope.
That’s setting the stage for local opal miner, Russian and mystic Sergei Menshikov. Through this amazing and incredibly complex character, Nybo weaves elements such as the SAAMI/(Sa’mi) culture and mythology, Russian geography and slang, and mystical terms such as psychopomp which I had not seen used before. All melded seamlessly while being used to great effect in this magnificent story.
Ok, let’s talk characters. Starting with Sergei, at man at war… within himself. And with the spiritual plane for rejecting his heritage. And another war is being brought to him as his past catches up. He’s wild, thoughtful, mystical, larger than life, almost elemental. And broken. Sergei is unlike any other I’ve read before. A wildman who’s impression still lingers even now. Agent Leon Armstrong really grows on you, especially once he enters Coober Pedy and encounters the crime scene and Sergei. As more of the case is revealed, the layers start to peel back on Leon too. Yes, you believe Sergei when he says they are meant to be together.
And there’s Lucy (how i love her, I won’t spoil you meeting this character) and Charles. Everyone here has such depth and lasting power to their personality.
That plot! Scary, intriguing and yet, oh so spine-chillingly scary. Especially as the author made it seem so real, so authentic. My heart raced as the story paced practically screamed towards the finish.
Did I mention there’s going to be a second book?
When I finished this one, I wrote immediately to the author begging to know that a sequel was coming. That these characters and universe wouldn’t be left to a single story. I couldn’t fathom that. And the answer was no, more would come. Eventually. That I could handle.
I will wait for however long it takes to come back here again with these people and this tiny township of heat, opals, and mystics.
After reading this you will feel the same.
The Shaman of Kupa Piti (Shaman’s Law #1) by A. Nybo is beautifully written, full of three dimensional characters, little known elements used for the author’s world building, and an amazing plot and setting. I can recommend it highly enough.
Cover art by Kanaxa. Love the feel of the cover. You will never find someone as wild looking as Sergei.
ebook, 193 pages
Expected publication: July 30th 2019 by DSP Publications
Edition Language English