My wife and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a debut party for first time novelist Rohret Buchner, for her fantasy novel Length of Days. I don’t get invited to these things often, and when I saw that wine and cheese was involved it was hard to decline.
Held at the Harvard Club in NY, the actual reception was quite cozy. Rohret Buchner (a pseudonym to avoid confusion amongst readers and her colleagues) was happy to chat for a bit before getting ushered to the podium for a reading.
Rohret started writing the novel when she was in eighth grade, and she mentioned to me how much the story meant to her, and how much it evolved over years and years, as she herself evolved. Now, as a 50th birthday present to herself, she finished the novel, and had it self published through Amazon.
In 1531 a British pirate ship hijacked a Spanish galleon. Caught in a violent storm, it was shipwrecked in Antarctica. The survivors banded together to create the land of Shalemar, which was gradually hidden beneath the Antarctic ice. Five centuries later a college student on a scientific mission falls through the Antarctic ice and into Shalemar, where her coming has been foretold for 500 years. Shara fights in a bloody revolution, wins the heart of a king, and earns the love of his people. Her resolve is tested by war and nation building, and the clash of her modern perspective with Shalemar’s traditional culture. Set in a world where the sun rises and sets only once each year, Length of Days is a hopeful tale of love and redemption, and the transformation of a reluctant heroine into a warrior queen.
One thing the author made very clear was how strong of a character Shara was, how she felt empowered in her youth through characters such as Leia and Ripley. These influences found purchase in her character, and I’m really excited to see how the story develops.
After hearing a few readings from different portions of her novel, I can say that the story is definitely a fantasy in the vein of C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series, but definitely holds a sci-fi twist. I’ll begin reading this soon, so stay tuned for a review.