This beautiful, magical tale is very loosely based on the characters and events of the ancient Hebrew stories of the Biblical Garden of Eden, but is both original and dynamic enough to neither require nor call for comparisons. It would be a great disservice to the author to expect this story to mirror or mimic the other.
‘The Rainbow Serpent’ is a mystical story in which Shanti has woven an intricate tale of love in many forms, and of the complications that arise when loyalties and commitments are divided. Shanti has sculpted realistic characters with whom the reader can empathise. I was drawn, at different times, into the depth of motherly love, the joy of celebration, the sadness of longing despite separation, and the despair of one who has reached the point of no return.
While this book explores quite serious themes, Shanti’s writing is quite lyrical and soothing. The story itself reminded me of Kipling’s tales, in that the skilful narration carries the reader through joy, fear, anguish and loss to a point of reflection in which they understand both the story and its lessons for humanity. Thus, the story also serves as something of a modern fable – when one acts on feelings alone, untempered by reason or contemplation, the consequences can be devastating.
Lyra Shanti is a writer well worth reading, whether she turns her hands to fable or fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey this story took me on, and I will definitely read more of Shanti’s works.