Apr 21, 2009

Keeper of Light and Dust by Natasha Mostert

Natasha Mostert's Keeper of Light and Dust is an elegant fusion of martial arts, tattooing, Eastern philosophy and medicine, and biophoton and chronobiological science set in modern London, England. Mostert deftly meshes information with characterization and plot, and there is never a dull moment in this spiritual thriller.

Some readers may find the science or Eastern philosophy and medicinal information daunting at first look, but readers will quickly become absorbed in the plot of this novel, cheering on the main characters and yelling at them when they fail to realize the dangers they face.

Mia Lockhart is a Keeper, who protects her marked fighters from danger and from failure in the ring; Nick Duffy is a skilled fighter with a lot of heart, Mia's childhood friend, and a successful businessman with his own social networking business (KIME) for fighters and enthusiasts; Adrian Ashton (Ash) is a scientist, fighter, trainer, and vampire, though not in the traditional sense--he feeds on the chi of others.

In the following conversation between Ash and Mia, readers can garner a sense of each character's personality and their perspective. Dialogue in this novel will have readers chuckling and thinking in the same breath.

"He shrugged again. 'Who's to say this light is chi? I believe it is; many scientists do not. Some are still struggling with the whole idea of light-inside-the-body to begin with. But it's not just humans, of course: all living things emit a permanent current of photons, from only a few to a few hundred. Plants, animals. . . people.'


'Shiny happy people. I like that. It's very R.E.M.'" (Page 148)


The dynamic between the three characters is fluid and will have readers guessing. Readers will love watching these characters evolve and grow together. Mostert is a phenomenal writer with a gift for description. Check out the passage below for a taste of how well Mostert weaves the narrative and creates a world that is very tangible.

"Mia opened the first box. Inside was a nest of stainless-steel acupuncture filament needles--already sterilized by autoclave--and a small plastic filled with sticks of moxa: herb mixture.

She carefully touched the flame from needle to needle and ignited the moxa, causing it to smoulder. Breathing out slowly, slowly, she inserted the first needle into her skin approximately two finger widths away from the crease in her left wrist. Almost immediately she could feel the dequi sensation at the point of insertion. The second and third needles went into the be and gu points in the web between the thumb and the palm and the fourth at the base of her throat. She could feel her skin turning warmer from the conducted heat." (Page 89)


Unlike some other novels, this novel sprinkles in some unique side characters, but those characters like Flash and Chilli stay on the periphery in their subordinate roles to help the main characters uncover the mysteries behind the deaths of several fighters and the mysterious The Book of Light and Dust.

Keeper of Light and Dust is great for readers who enjoy Eastern medicine, philosophy, and marital arts, as well as those that enjoy suspense/thrillers and fantasy/science fiction novels. However, the main characters in this novel are dealing with more than just spiritual and martial arts dilemmas, they are dealing with emotions, life-changing events, and the dynamics of friendship. This novel defies normal convention in the science fiction/fantasy category and transcends those confines to deliver a well constructed drama.


About the Author (From her Web site):

She is the author of five novels. Her latest novel, Keeper of Light and Dust (published in the UK under the title The Keeper) joins together ancient mysteries with cutting-edge science and introduces a fascinating heroine who belongs to a long line of Keepers: women who are healers, warriors and protectors of men who are engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Tattoos, quantum physics, chi and martial arts all combine in an intricately crafted plot.

Her fourth novel, Season of the Witch, is a modern gothic thriller about techgnosis and the Art of Memory and won the Book to Talk About: World Book Day 2009 Award. Her debut novel was The Midnight Side, a story of obsessive love and a ghost manipulating the London Stock Exchange. In The Other Side of Silence, a sinister computer game becomes the key to unravelling the riddle of the Pythagorean Comma: one of the oldest and deadliest mysteries in the science of sound. Her third novel, Windwalker, is a story of fratricide, redemption, ghost photography and soul mates searching for each other.

Educated in South Africa and at Columbia University, New York, Mostert holds graduate degrees in Lexicography and Applied Linguistics and a bachelors in Modern Languages majoring in Afrikaans, Dutch, English and German. She worked as a teacher in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and as project coordinator in the publishing department of public television station WNET/Thirteen in New York City. Her political opinion pieces have appeared on the op-ed page of The New York Times, in Newsweek, The Independent and The Times (London).

Interests aside from writing include music, running and kickboxing. Future goals include writing poetry, executing a perfect spinning backkick and coming face to face with a ghost.

Check out Natasha Mostert's Keeper Game. I ended up being The Thief; I'm not sure that's a good thing.

The Thief

Dragonfly

Your sign is the Ninja. Your code word is stealth. Your totem is the dragonfly. You are highly focused in your goals but do not believe in knocking your head against a brick wall and will rather bide your time and wait for the most favourable moment. You can be ruthless and unsentimental, but also capable of great passion. You usually succeed in what you set out to do. Your head rules your heart unless you become obsessive, which you tend to be.

Your true mate is The Healer. Your opposite sign is The Warrior.

***Giveaway***

This giveaway is international. There is 1 copy of this fantastic book up for grabs.

To enter, play The Keeper Game and leave a comment about your results.

For a second entry, leave a comment on the interview from April 20.

For a Third Entry, leave a link to where you Twitter, Facebook, blog, or advertise this giveaway.

Deadline is April 28, 2009, at 11:59 PM EST.

Check Out These Other Reviews:

Literate Housewife

A Novel Menagerie

Literary Escapism

Wrighty’s Reads

Peeking Between the Pages

Jo-Jo Loves to Read

J. Kaye's Book Blog

29 comments:

VioletReads said...

i was The Healer. This was a really interesting game!

Blodeuedd said...

I am the Samurai. Your code word is courage. Even though you can be imaginative, you are a feet-on-the ground individual and do not have much patience with mystical things. You do not back away from danger. You are a balanced individual.

Hm, interesting, but honestly, courage me, no and I like mystical things. I wonder how I reached this result. Maybe my my heart is different from my mind :)
Was fun :D

Wrighty said...

Don't enter me I just wanted to tell you great review! Even though I have already finished mine I still went back to the pages you listed to look up the quotes.

When I played the game I was The Healer and my heart rules my head. I am also very protective. I was surprised that most of the things listed from my results were true.

My contest just finished but I haven't posted the results yet. I will post a link to your contest on my blog.

ANovelMenagerie said...

Great review Serena! I love that picture of Natasha!

Wonderful wonderful!

Thanks!

ANovelMenagerie said...

P.S. I'm the Healer

Anna said...

I'm The Warrior. LOL

I've added this giveaway to my sidebar.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

bermudaonion said...

There is a lot going on in that book. I played the Keeper Game and my sign is Energy. Your code word is protection. Your totem is the chameleon. You are loyal and sensitive. You care for others deeply and if need be, will put yourself in harm's way if it means you can help them. You are chameleon-like in that your instinct is to heal, but you will fight -- and fight well -- if the cause is just. You are warm-hearted, generous and imaginative. Your heart rules. don't enter me.

Bridget said...

No need to enter me; just posted about this on Win A Book.

tetewa said...

I enjoyed the quiz and came up with The Warrior!

Marie said...

Your sign is the Samurai. Your code word is courage. Your totem is the lion. Even though you can be imaginative, you are a feet-on-the ground individual and often do not have much patience with mystical and otherworldly things. You have great mental and physical courage and do not back away from danger. You are a balanced individual. Neither your heart nor your head rules your life.

Your true mate is The Healer.
Your opposite sign is The Thief.

I would have never chosen a Samurai for myself though :-)

marielay@gmail.com

Llehn said...

I was a Thief. Interesting.

I also commented on the interview.

Lesley
lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

Amber said...

Don't feel bad about being The Thief...that's what I got as well!
Thanks for the giveaway :)
hurdler4eva(at)gmail(dot)com

nightdweller20 said...

I am the Healer. I really enjoyed playing this game!

jaam121388 at yahoo dot com

Indigo said...

The Thief

"Your sign is the Ninja. Your code word is stealth. Your totem is the dragonfly. You are highly focused in your goals but do not believe in knocking your head against a brick wall and will rather bide your time and wait for the most favourable moment. You can be ruthless and unsentimental, but also capable of great passion. You usually succeed in what you set out to do. Your head rules your heart unless you become obsessive, which you tend to be."

I ended up with the Thief, I'm not so sure I agree with the results...

Thanks for the opportunity hon! (Hugs)Indigo

ravensquietscreams(at)gmail(dot)com

carolsnotebook said...

I was the healer. Thanks for entering me. I'm looking forward to reading this one.

carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

Iliana said...

This book sounds a bit out there but I'm intrigued! I read her book Season of the Witch and enjoyed it a lot so, I've definitely got this one on my radar. Thanks for the great review!

quelleheure4 said...

I am the warrior. That was really interesting. I felt like I was psycho analyzing myself, which I guess I was.

bridget3420 said...

I'm a warrior!

bjhopper(at)yahoo(dot)com

quelleheure4 said...

I left a comment on the interview.

bridget3420 said...

I commented on the interview.

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

nhertel85 said...

I'm a healer

nhertel85ATyahooDOTcom

Literate Housewife said...

As a warrior, I'm keeping my distance from you. LOL! Great interview! I really liked the quotes you pulled from the novel - even though Shiny Happy People is my least favorite R.E.M. song. :)

MJ said...

I am a Samurai.
I liked the game. I had to really think!!
My mate is the Healer and he truly is!!

naida said...

wow, this sounds very interesting!
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

donnas said...

I came up as the healer.

If this book is as interesting as that quiz or how it sounds, its going to be a great book. I cant wait to get the chance to read it.

AllyKatt said...

I am the healer. What an intriguing game. Not a game taken lightly as it required thought. Thanks for the chance to win. Have read such interesting book reviews on this book.

espressogurl at hotmail dot com

Dar said...

Really great review Serena. I really enjoyed this thriller I think for the fact because it was so different from others. I loved learning things about chi, etc that I had never known. I look forward to reading more of her books. I was the healer in the game. I should have posted mine, never thought of it.

Sorry I'm so behind in comments (life gets in the way sometimes-lol). ps-thank for posting my giveaways. I'm so bad about remembering to post yours but I'm gonna. lol.

sharon54220 said...

Very interesting. I was the Thief.

sharon54220@gmail.com

babygirlG said...

I'm a healer! YAY!!!!

I made a comment on Natasha's interview!

Thanks for entering me!