Freedom is free, it just isn’t safe.
Apparition is the first in the Girl in Glass Trilogy that follows the adventures of Rhia, Mike, and Marianna as they attempt to save Tanelorn from internal and external foes, unravel the mystery of the Girl in Glass, and leave their childhood behind.
Tanelorn is a nation beset by enemies on all sides with a leader who does not believe in interfering in the politics of other nations. Rival political leaders use the threat of these other nations to instill fear into the hearts of the people of Tanelorn in the hopes of taking over the government in a coup.
Three teenage girls from very different upbringings join together to face off against this most insidious of threats. The real threat is not the external armies mounting against Tanelorn but those who wish to change the nature of the nation. The Gray Lord founded Tanelorn on the notions of neutrality and non-interference with neighbors and these have served it well over the years.
Mike is a young girl from a prominent family raised with many luxuries and is in the full rebellion of her teenage years. In this book she has forsaken her name and her family as she attempts to make her own way in life. As she travels to the Gnoll nation of Grelm where a woman’s worth is simply her ability to birth children, to the beautiful but shallow Elf nation of Acanthus where her grandparents rule, and beyond she must come to grips with the realities of the world and her own place in it.
There are two major themes in this book.
One involves Mike who is rebelling against her perhaps too loving parents and slowly learns that there are worse things in life than a family that loves and takes care of you. It is about understanding the realities of life and separating yourself from the path your parents started you upon and and making your own way.
The second involves the idea of security and freedom. Tanelorn is surrounded by belligerent nations and it appears they are ready to unite and wage war against it. The people are frightened by the prospect of such a war and unscrupulous men try to take advantages of this fear. They promise safety if the people will only give up a little of their freedom. They promise safety if the very principles upon which the nation were founded are subverted.
“Freedom isn’t free” is their mantra.
Opposed to them are those who believe that nothing is more important than freedom, the least important of which is the false promise of security.
Freedom is free, it just isn’t safe.
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Adusko is the chief enforcer of the forces that hope to overthrow Tanelorn. He is a brutal orc shaped by a childhood of horror. Adusko is an extraordinarily complex character who is more fully developed in future novels.
Lofo is a prominent Gray Knight charged with keeping the nation secure against internal threats. He is the force that sets Mike, Rhia, and Marianna in motion against those who hope to usurp power from the Gray Lord. He fights a difficult battle because the tenants of Tanelorn prevent him intruding upon the freedom of both other nations and the very people who pose a threat to his country.
Marianna grew up with a loving father and a cold mother but when her father died her world was shattered. Her step-father is the leader of the forces that hope to usurp power in Tanelorn in the name of security. He immediately instituted a policy of brutal physical and mental abuse on the girl. She is rescued from her plight by Mike and Rhia and soon joins them on their quest to save the nation from her step-father and his allies.
Mike is a young half-elf girl of extraordinary beauty who has grown up in a prominent family with many of the luxuries in life. She has not known hardship or suffering and is thus spoiled. At the beginning of the book she has run away from home both rejecting her family and her name. She hopes to become a new person as she sets her own path in life. Mike recruits Rhia to join her in these quests and quickly becomes involved in attempting to prevent forces from staging a successful coup against the Gray Lord and Tanelorn itself. Over the course of the novel she slowly learns that while she must always be true to herself; it is possible that her family is not as bad as she believes them to be.
Rhia grew up in the distant land of Elekargul where she was influenced by a teenage Jon Gray. She ran away from home and spent years traveling the dangerous lands of the world to get to Tanelorn and achieve her dream of becoming a Gray Knight. In this novel she begins working with the young half-elf girl Mike as a way to achieve this goal. She must help thwart the forces that are trying to subvert the principles of Tanelorn in the name of security.