by Alan R Wilson
The Anita Histories
Humanity is clawing itself back from the times of Blight, Chaos and Contagion ~1500 years before. Society is at a medieval level with a collection of Lords and their domains loosely held together under the sway of a cult/religion, the ‘Servants of the Bear’ (SoB), which credits itself for saving humanity from destruction. The SoB work to eradicate ‘the taint’, a hangover from the old times. The books follow the development/self discovery of Anita, the last of a noble family whose castle was sacked by the SoB because they were dabbling in forbidden knowledge.
The target audience is young adult and up.
It is many centuries since the world was plunged into darkness after the Chaos war. Horse, sword and bow are the power in the land with a multitude of lordlings overseeing domains of peasant and farmer. The Servants of The Bear arose out of the Chaos and see themselves as the saviour of mankind. They are dogma driven and in their zeal to purify mankind vigorously pursue those they consider carry ‘the taint’ from the Chaos times. If they were aware of the extent of Anita’s differences they would persecute and burn her for a na-man, a tainted monster of the Chaos time.
Anita’s past is clouded and her future uncertain. All she knows is people are dangerous and the best way to understand the danger is to abandon her solitary life and mingle with them. Her first encounters are not encouraging and later she discovers that in many ways she is unlike the people around her. She also discovers the dominant religious sect, the Servants of The Bear, are her primary peril.
Anita acquires some true friends who realise she is not a normal person but know her inner self. While none understand her they realise she does not behave like one of the Servants of The Bear’s na-men. Anita’s closest companions are a horse and an eagle, although both are much more than their outer forms suggest. Anita and her friends must avoid the clutches of the Servants of The Bear, negotiate the dangers of the amazingly durable old technologies and later fight for her position in the land for her to start to realise the full potential of both her old bloodline and her altered self.
Some reader comments
“I liked the slow reveal of the mystery.”
“I felt I could visualise it.”
“At the end I was still confused and had no idea what was happening.”
“Too many lose ends? But I realise there is a second book.”
“Not normally what I read but I found it engaging.”
Anita is betrayed by one she suspects, one she does not but should and worst, by herself.
Anita’s story continues. She consolidates her claim on the Pality of Darham with many of the Holdings which rebelled against her coming under her sway. She discovers more about her unique capabilities but it also raises more questions.
The enmity of the Servants of The Bear, supported by the Southern Holdings, continues unabated and poses the greatest threat to her and the social restructuring she is overseeing in Darham. The new leader of the Servants is utterly committed to her removal. His conviction is further fueled by the elevation and protection of Lady Mavis within Darham. Both are anathema to him and he schemes to permanently remove Anita and Mavis. Anita’s at times impulsive actions lead to situations which only work to confirm his worst fears. The Servants denounce her as ‘a friend of the taint’ and lead the Southern Holdings against Darham again. The resulting conflict leads to an unexpected outcome for The Servant, pushes Anita to an extreme she might never return from and awakens a power from the age of Chaos.
Anita’s story continues but this time she has a companion.
After fleeing the battle for Darham Pality, Anita takes up life as a herbalist and animal healer. However, even though her memories are suppressed, old habits come to the fore and she trains the child she discovered on that fateful day in all her arts and skills. Indeed, she and the child, Vanessa, are surprisingly similar, to the point where they are mistaken for sisters and even twins when Vanessa is older.
The Servants of The Bear are a constant worry and the pair frequently move to avoid confrontation. An old friend dies and Anita stumbles across and rescues a person from her past. It starts a chain of events which leads to the uncovering of secrets and the restoration of Anita’s hidden memories. Anita learns to live with what she is and feels compelled to head north to reaffirm old friendships. Vanessa continues on her southern journey and comes fully of age, demonstrating her true character is much like her ersatz mother’s when she clears corruption out of the southern realms and becomes entangled with the Servants of The Bear in the process.
Anita, Vanessa and the northern realms join forces to confront the southern Barons and their old nemesis, the Servants of The Bear.
The death of her companion prompts Anita to retire from life for a short time. However, there is a mistake and she ‘awakens’ to a time when the siege of Darham and the overthrow of the Servants of The Bear are ancient history. It is also a time of impending danger. Biofree, the ancient biological war machine is stirring herself in response to perceived dangers due to the increasing technological sophistication she detects around her. Anita’s arrival is opportune as she first stumbles towards the only thing her innate sensors recognise, the background buzz of Biofree’s communications with the multitudinous biota she has evolved. Under her tutelage, Anita is introduced to the wonders and dangers of the age she is now in. She explores the closest coastal city, falls in with the wrong crowd and attracts the attention of the police. While the population is highly gifted the ancient mistrust of the exceptionally gifted has risen again: there is a whole covert arm of government dedicated to their suppression. She develops some close friendships, discovers some well-kept secrets and contacts the descendants of the Usulu who have a mystic faith based on her return. Anita eschews the opportunity to become an avenging, godlike leader and pursues a more peaceful path for the proper recognition of the gifted. However, Anita’s impulsive nature leads to her being shot. Biofree activates her biota and the Usulu rise up in revolt. It is up to Anita to reunite the country and avoid the death of millions.