Servant of the Seasons:Winter by Lee Benoit

Servant of the Seasons: Winter, by Lee Benoit

I think I raved about the first episode of this series; Autumn, but Winter is even better. To sum up what happens so far: ex-dome dweller Edor has been ‘turfed’ – thrown out of his high tech world in the domes to survive, or not, in the outside world. In Autumn, he scrapes his way through a terrible winter in an abandoned farmstead, too ignorant to do more than cultivate a few beans and hope to lie low in case anyone more dangerous passes by. When his unpleasant neighbour trades him a couple of slaves, however, things begin to look up.

The slaves, Tywyll and Lys, are Novigi, tied to the land and to each other. They change with the seasons, and their presence slowly enables the land to become productive. They also teach Edor all kinds of new skills which he needs to survive.

Autumn ends with the three of them well set up to go through Winter. Tywyll and Lys are lovers, and their health and colouring wax and wane with the seasons, with one of them strongest in winter, one in summer.

‘Winter’ continues the slow but delicious unfolding of information about this alien world and these alien people. There are more sinister hints about the dreaded Salters – an enemy whom everyone fears, but whom we haven’t actually met yet. Tywyll, like a winter sprite, runs with the wolves, while Lys goes through his mid-winter sleep. Edor, who is coming off the chemical they gave him in the dome to keep him sexually inactive, slowly gets in touch with his own desires and is drawn into the love between his two guests. And the outer world intrudes in the form of a refugee barge coming down the river with troubling news and even more shocking cargo.

If possible this is even more beautifully written than ‘Autumn’, but what impressed me most was the fact that it gets more alien as it goes along. As we find out more about this world, the less similar it seems to anything I’ve read before, and I’m a long term SF/Fantasy reader. Originality is a rare thing in a fantasy world, and when you couple it with psychological realism, building UST and escalating suspense, you have a series that keeps on getting better. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

A little excerpt is available here if you want to check it out 🙂

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