Zenith – The First Book of Ascension
Can you see the story breathing?
A mountain so great it takes a year to travel from base to summit
A sun so powerful it drives you into madness if you look at it
An ascent so vital it determines the fate of the world
A summit so precious it holds the key to the divine
The world of the great Mountain is unstable. Giant pillars erupt from the surface and yawning chasms form unpredictably underfoot. Since the Maelir first stood on its slopes in the distant past, they have sought to still its anger and control its power. Each year, twin brothers are chosen to make a perilous journey to the summit. If they survive they will be witness to Zenith, and the secrets will be revealed to them.
When Atreu and Teyth embark on their Ascent, their Talismans lead them onto conflicting paths that will ultimately set brother against brother. And this time the Ascent itself is in peril as unknown forces that have long craved the power of Zenith will stop at nothing to make it their own even if it means destroying the very thing that sustains all life the Mountain itself.
This one will set the heart aflutter for the true fantasy reader…and with a dose of spiritualism and action tossed in the mix, it’s bound to attract the attention of several genres. Now, for me, the beginning was a little like watching water boil…it was a slow build-up but it paid off in the end. Since this is a bit of a different read for me, I was happy to find my attention engaged and my interest piqued in this interesting world that author, Dirk Strasser created. So if you’re looking for something different and definitely unique…give this one a try.3 stars ~Kathy
Zenith – The First Book of Ascension
Zenith excerpt: Chapter Four
Metheus walked over to the fissure and beckoned Atreu to follow.
‘Stop there,’ commanded the old man. ‘Do not get too close.’ Metheus was a step away from the fissure. ‘Now, watch and believe.’
He approached the large crack, and Atreu stared as the old man closed his eyes and bent his head over into the steam. Atreu could just make out his lined features which were softened by the haze. Metheus was inhaling deeply. He then slowly stepped back from the fissure, his eyes still closed. Bending his neck back, he exhaled towards the ceiling.
A cloud issued from Metheus’ mouth and floated upwards. As it floated it took the form of a small boy. And as soon as the image was complete, it changed. Now it was a serpent writhing with life. And then a fish. And a leafless tree. And a geyer with wings beating gracefully. And then something with long teeth dripping with blood. And then a woman. And finally an old man, fading as the image struck the webbing on the ceiling of the cave.
The air was shrouded in silence as Atreu slowly bowed his head and looked at the ground.
‘This is my art,’ said the ancient voice.
Atreu lifted his head and looked Metheus in the eyes. ‘I … I didn’t know,’ he stammered.
‘Come here,’ said Metheus. Atreu walked towards him, the old man put his hand on his shoulder and they both sat down. ‘You see, Atreu, it is in your breath that all answers are found. I have not devoted my life to nothing. You take what the Mountain offers you, and you create so that it belongs to both of you. Inhale, exhale. They belong together, you see.’
Atreu nodded. He was suddenly very aware of his own breathing.
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Dirk Strasser has written over 30 books and has won multiple Australian Publisher Association Awards and a Ditmar for Best Professional Achievement. His short story, “The Doppelgänger Effect”, appeared in the World Fantasy Award-winning anthology, Dreaming Down Under. His fiction has been translated into a number of languages. He founded the Aurealis Awards and has co-published and co-edited Aurealis magazine for over 20 years.