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Keeper of Light and Dust by Natasha Mostert
Review by Gayle Surrette
Dutton Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780525951001
Date: 02 April 2009 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Natasha Mostert's Website / Show Official Info /

Mia Lockheart is a tattoo artist, having taken over the house and the shop after the death of her parents. She also studies the martial arts at the local gym. She watches over some of the fighters who work out in the gym because, as her mother before her, she's also a Keeper. Her life is full and rich, especially since her childhood friend Nick Duffy moved back into the neighborhood. They may even someday be more than friends, until one of the fighters that Mia has in her keeping dies of no known cause after a fight. Nick investigates and finds this isn't the first fighter to die after a fight and with no reason other than their heart gave out. Something is not right and Mia's dreams are horrific and feature a book that she fears to read.

More Natasha Mostert
Season of the Witch

Nick is a fighter also, but not one under Mia's keeping. He runs an online community for fighter's called Kime. There's a new member of the community who calls himself Dragonfly and his posts are worrying Nick and his computer assistant. But Nick has a fight coming up and needs to find a new training partner.

It's about this time that Adrian Ashton comes on the scene. He's a martial artists, a doctor, and a specialist in biophoton emissions. He offers to become Nicks training buddy and asks Mia for a custom tattoo. He moves into the community of people around the gym and seems well liked. Mia finds herself drawn to him and realizes that she'll have to chose between Nick and Adrian at some point.

Mostert weaves a tale of a woman trying to protect those under her care while also exploring the concepts of community, martial arts, fighting and fighters, tattooing, philosophy, and metaphysics. Similar to her Season of the Witch, this is not a book that lets the reader go easily after the last page is finished. There are concepts and ideas that cling for further consideration beyond the confines of the story that presented these ideas to the readers.

Not your typical fantasy, Mostert seems to write of the here and now, but with the addition of those mystical arts usually found in much older times, Season of the Witch dealt with memory palaces and now she's plays with the folklore and tales that cling to the varied traditions of martial arts.

Highly recommended.

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