Faith and family are the basis for Kim Rendfeld's second novel, The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar. Following up her first release, The Cross and the Dragon, Rendfeld returns her readers to the 8th century in the time of Charlemagne where her story unfolds around the king's enemies, the Saxons. Leova and her children, son Deorlag and daughter Sunwynn, are left without a home and with a dying faith as Charlemagne's armies gain victory in Saxony, burning even the Irminsul, known to many Saxons as the Pillar of Heaven. With her husband found dead after the battle, Leova must entrust her life and the lives of her children into a foreign faith, receiving baptism into the religion whose own God has just destroyed her family. Adrift in the world, Leova and her children face treacherous betrayal at the hands of family; they are soon sold into slavery and forced to serve a brutal master. The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar is a story about how the power of love can win out even when all hope is gone. In Leova we are introduced to a spirited, determined heroine whose courage and will lift her from the era of Charlemagne into the spirit of modern day. She's the sort of heroine a reader loves to cheer for, a heartfelt rendering of a mother and a wife; in short, a woman who will risk everything for the sake of her family. Rendfeld illustrates her beautifully, and she likewise captures the heart of Leova's relationships with her children. Across the pages Deorlaf grows from a helpless and willful boy into a street-smart man whose dedication to saving his family is admirable. His younger sister, Sunwynn, is a lovely portrait of innocence and heart; her own circumstances are troubled farther when she falls in love with Hugh, a Frankish soldier who offers her a kindness she has never experienced from the enemy of her people.
Rendfeld's dedicated research fuels the authenticity of the novel and brings to vivid life a setting not as often highlighted in historical fiction. Her descriptions of the time and its customs help the reader along just enough to guide their understanding without ever hindering the nuances of the narrative. With wisdom and suspense, Rendfeld unravels a story filled with timeless emotions and complexities that readers will recognize, while simultaneously pulling us back into the reaches of history to a time of violence, honor, and profound loyalty.
The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar by Kim Rendfeld Publisher/Source: Fireship Press (c/o) Release date: August 28, 2014