cover image Whispers from the Depths

Whispers from the Depths

C.W. Briar. Uncommon Universes, $17.99 e-book (153p) ISBN 978-1-948896-11-5

Briar’s captivating debut is set in a fantasy world divided by religious hatred and the weight of belief. The followers of Resk have enslaved the Whisperers, fearing and despising their magical ability to communicate with water spirits. When Whisperer Betka is commanded by her owner to accompany his soldiers to Kysavar Castle, she is eager to learn the fate of her vanished sister, Tosna, and discover why the water spirits are suddenly silent. The journey is not easy for Betka or her companion, Asi, as the captain is directly responsible for her enslavement, the other soldiers blame them for every problem while ignoring their efforts to help the mission, and the spirits’ silence becomes increasingly ominous as the group investigates the ruins of the castle. The story’s strong emotional backbone is the tension between Betka’s rage over her situation and the painful limitation on her ability that prevents her from using it in anger. The backstories, especially of Betka’s grandfather Eder, give detailed context to the hatred between the Whisperers and the rulers, and the worldbuilding is immersive. A surprising yet inevitable conclusion will leave readers eager for more from Briar. (Feb.)