The Tenth Muse
by Lily G. Stephen
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
280 pages; ISBN: 0971265909
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Paul Lappen
This is the story of two young girls on the brink of maturity. Opal Courtright is a citizen of present-day Earth, and Sapphire Deland is a citizen of Planet Zamora, a place which is, and isn't, a lot like Earth.
Unaware of each other's existence, the connection between them grows stronger. Sapphire does some rock climbing, and Opal has a dream about rock climbing, something she has never done before. Both girls are very much into art, the sort of art that is far beyond the abilities of the average teenager. Sapphire takes private lessons from Mr. Sukosi, who recently lost his only child, Sandra (also Sapphire's bext friend), in a bus accident. Both girls have their paintings shown in local art galleries. They deal with the usual growing-up issues, like friends, parents and school. Opal is being stalked by a couple of older people (rumors of a satanic cult), and Sapphire has attracted the attention of Ben, a young man of dubious reputation. Both girls go to the same place (on their respective worlds), a set of cliffs high above the ocean, for some seashore painting. Unfortunate things happen, and Opal and Sapphire both fall off the cliffs, but they don't die. While still in the air, and in front of witnesses, both girls disintegrate into nothingness.
Their souls (essences?) are taken to a higher state of consciousness on a planet called Lamartine. They are combined into one being, along with a famous figure from Greek history called Sappho. Another being from Lamartine, a former human called Branicor, is sent to Earth and Zamora to reassure both sets of loved ones that their daughters aren't exactly gone, but that their terrestrial existence is over.
An openness to New Age thinking, like crystals and Eastern philosophy, is a requirement when reading this book. For those people, this is a special story and a must read. Part one of a trilogy, it is a very heartwarming piece of writing.