Victoria Strauss draws on her academic expertise, (Comparative Religions) to give us a strange, new world filled with warring theocracies, noble protagonists, politically motivated antagonists, and more subplots than you can stir with a stick.
In it's base form, this is a story of a quest, trials, spiritual growth and redemption. A Hero's Journey, indeed. The characters are carefully crafted and three dimensional, the world, a shadowy replicant of the best, and worst of our own. As an added treat, the mechanics of magic in Victoria's world is fresh and original. This fact alone makes The Burning Land worth the read.
A day's end, the inhabitants of Victoria's world must decide if the weary Gyalo is Savior or Destroyer, herald of a triumpant future or harbringer of doom. A story filled with themes that challenge our intellect, imagery that gripes the imagination, told in manner that stirs the soul.