Thursday, October 24, 2013

To a Very Special Author

It is momentous when a favorite author passes. I am still young, so many of the authors I grew up with are still here and writing strong. I can't quite remember the exact transition from young chapter books to full, mature reading. Typically my reading included more than the books just on the regular school list but most the time that fell to The Boxcar Children or Babysitter's Club series. (I would save up all my pocket money to come home with as many books as possible from the Scholastic Book Fair. Reader nerds dream!) At some point along the road, I was introduced to epic fantasy and Sara Douglass. That was well over a decade ago and I have been enjoying her works until 2011. I was very pleased when my in-laws kindly bought me her final publication, a collection of the never fully "published" short stories, for Christmas.


The Hall of Lost Footsteps by Sara Douglass

A beautiful collection of works that until now had been scattered all over the regions of Australian libraries and internet hidey-holes. The introduction by a true friend is beautiful and wonderfully matched to an author who shaped my reading niche as a teen. 

There are also a large quantity of stories that circulate around death and what it means to die. She struggled for years with cancer and had watched her mother face the same struggle. She also was a registered nurse and watched unconnected people through their struggles with death. The way people act with their loved ones as they die. How religion fits into the "bigger picture" and beliefs. The points of view she presents are eye opening. It is a look that many avoid in the modern society. 

There are pieces to tag along with her most famous Axis series. They don't expand over much on the knowledge presented through the nine volume series, but they are an excellent highlight into how much Ms Douglass put into her world building. Every series that she wrote was so in depth. They always blended her love for medieval history, religion and how we approach it, and sheer fantasy. Her characters were always full of struggle and development. She really was a queen of epic fantasy. Her short stories even managed to capture this in just a few pages.

It is a great collection of short stories. Some were great, some I will barely remember in a month from now. This probably isn't a book for everyone, but for a fan of Sara Douglass, I think it is an excellent piece to the collection. I am certainly glad I read it. Fond memories to a very fine author.