Jonathan Fesmire

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform / 272 pages / (September 7, 2007)

ISBN: 1434807606

New concepts are a rare thing in fantasy literature. Settings are created. Characters are wrought from legend or from thin air. New mythologies are conjured up. Genuine inventions, though, are a unique treat. Fesmire’s “duals” is definitely one of those inventions. And all of the previous short stories, and now this full-length novel are certainly a treat.

Vayin and Garum are the closest of twins. Born duals, they are a brother and sister who exist inside one body, allowing only one of them to surface at any given time. Vayin’s female form can only exist when Garum “switches” and his male body vanishes. They remain in constant contact in the internal space their thoughts share. It’s not the ideal situation, but it would be bearable if only so-called normal people didn’t fear and hate the mysterious duals.

Does that explain the phenomenon? Probably not. But, you don’t really want me to tell you about it when Fesmire is there to do it so much more eloquently. Instead, read The Children Of Rhatlan and you will understand. And you too will find the duals fascinating and intriguing.

The twins want nothing more than a bit of adventure to spice up their overly protective lives on the family farm. They are aching to see the world outside the strict discipline they’ve grown up with. In the closest town, they find excitement and more trouble than they ever imagined. Finding and keeping love, safety, and peace are difficult to find and keep in a time when most of the citizenry is scrambling just to survive. Sadly, for duals it appears to be impossible.

Garum and Vayin have a long and dangerous journey ahead of them to find any of these comforts. Dealing with their dualism is crucial to every step of that journey. The way in which Fesmire deals with the intimate aspects of their situation is a struggle of its own to watch. (Anyone who is aware with the existence of conjoined twins has wondered about such delicate matters as twins’ sexual activity. If someone tries to convince you they haven’t, they are probably just too embarrassed to admit to it.) Fesmire manages his own solution with practicality and just a bit of bawdiness.

Magic, treachery, valour, prejudice — Fesmire builds a world sword and-sorcery fans will welcome and adventure fans will want to explore fully. Something tells me The Children Of Rhatlan may be just the first of a long and popular series. With an imagination as fertile as Fesmire’s, a return appearance of the twins sounds like a smashing idea.