Families are supposed to protect and defend each other. Brothers are supposed to be close and want the best for their sibling. But, not the case of Bruce and his family as we learn more about Bruce McBaine. He is not a typical character and his goal is to destroy his brother Tolen by obliterating him from his every thought and mind. How can he do this in due conscience? Why would it even bother him?
Meeting Bruce we realize that his family is comprised of people that are not the brightest light bulbs on any planet. There are 11 keys that are vital to making sure that the balance between the two universes that he deals with maintains the proper status quo. Gragona and Firma are the two universes and some of the vital keys are missing. “Incarnation (noun) period during which, according to some religions, a human being lives as a human being or animal.” A new cycle will not occur unless all of the keys are found and present. These 11 keys have a specific purpose as the author relates from the start they establish Mana: which according to the web is defined as an “indigenous Pacific Islander concept of an impersonal force or quality that resides in people and animals.
The second is to bring order or Flux, as defined as the force within all things, which in this case is the heart, soul, and blood, and much more of the Universe controlled by the Arcanon who control them. Tolen at one point as related at the start of the novel controlled them but he refused his seat and Bruce has to deal with the fall out and much more. As the reader gets to know more about Bruce we learn about his childhood, the abuse handed down by his father and the many times his brother, Tolen endured his wrath. A simple act of spray painting would yield unspeakable tortures for Tolen. The closeness between the brothers only to gain their father’s favor and yield some monetary rewards. When their grandfather found out about the abuse first hand, what he says will surprise the reader as we learn more about the world we know and the other dimension.
What if what you thought about your past was just one great illusion that others wanted you to belief? Imagine three separate planes and two different worlds. One world where humans live and the other Gragona as related by the author and our narrator. The Firma is where humans reside and the Supra where the Gragona live and as with all stories and to create intrigue a world that is neither human nor Gragona and world inbetween called the Nethertwain where both their powers to affect others meet. As the author invites Bruce and the reader to enter these different dimensions we experience events in his past that are quite compelling, enlightening and allow us to know how they will generate the events in the present. Gragona were sent to this dimension for many purposes: to settle debts, scores and according to legend they are “the keepers of great balance= god of the unknown, they are what make all things possible.” A small part of them is human but without it they would not exist. As Zoey and a woman who for now we will refer to as Dahnii open the portals to his past, you will learn more about just who Bruce really is, how this will affect his choices in life and why his relationship with his estranged brother will change.
There are as I said Keys that are missing. They are scattered throughout as we are told the known universe and as the narrator relates to us they are what is left of each incarnation. Then Bruce enters his old world with the help of Dahnii and Zoey and we learn about his relationship with his grandparents, how he wanted to please his grandfather and the truth about Tolen. As he takes the journey back he is able to correct some of the things that others were led to believe.
Reenter the world of Gragona and hear what Tersus and his minions are doing. Learning more about what they have in mind is frightening as we learn he hopes to destroy human life. Changing appearances, becoming something else and omnipotence or having unlimited universal power or force is only part of what they have in mind but there is much more.
A dimension away we meet Tersus who was concerned about Tolen’s whereabouts. Keron, his abusive father, although, gone still had a great impact on his life. But, even though his father was smart, he was an idiot. But, he was not the only one and the Gragona were plagues with dim memories and incomplete recollections, which were not uncommon, nor to Tersus. But, torture seems to be one of their greatest pleasures as Tersus summoned Liima to do his bidding and much more. As Bruce relates his life with Tolen as children, the pranks they pulled and trouble they caused in school. We also hear Bruce’s voice wondering why he never knew certain things about his family and why they kept him in the dark. Next we meet his girlfriend, Zoey, an odd figure and magi named Maramore. We still at this time need to learn more about the 11 keys and just why and how Tolen plans to steal them. As a child Bruce went along with everything Tolen did, but will he go along with him now? Tolen and Maramore hope to enlist his help in order to foil Arcanon’s plan. Power struggles occur throughout the novel but the primary one is within Bruce himself as he recreates his past and watches the events unfold in the present with the help of both of Zoey and Dahnii. Will Bruce uncover what he has been kept from knowing and will he finally find the answers on his own? As we learn more about the keys that are missing and how they control the balance between the two worlds.
So, how does Bruce really fit in and what is the Caiden seat? Realities will soon set in as the leader of the Gragona, Caudus lets everyone know just what will be decided and that Dahnii has a directive and the job will be done. Just like our Senate and House these people have their own ruling cabinets you might say as the author allows us into the meeting of the Arcanon Major which is the great council of the Magi. This council assumes authority over every other of its kind within the Terra Firma. However, what they discussed is secret but what I can reveal is that there are many legends behind the missing keys. Some state that the keys are simply knowledge and another records the composition of the keys but no one knows what doors they open. Arcanon had seven keys of the 11. The rest is won’t get from me but you might want to read pages 114-115 and learn more. The 12th incarnation it is stated will be different. Their goal is to preserve that one and they must find Tolen. Chapter 24 reveals more about Majora and her servitude, the secret envoy and some of what they hope to accomplish. What happens next will surprise the reader as we meet may who prefer to remain in disguise, we learn more about their mission and the end result will not be what you expect.
We then move back to what we think is the present and we learn more about Zoey and her bond to Dahnii and how Tolen comes into play in all of this and why. Images come into play, a strong battle ensues, who is real and who is just in guise you will have to find out for yourself as Bruce and Zoey battle some strange entities you might say and he comes face to face with many that he would rather forget. When Maramore steps over the line and Bruce takes control we learn the hidden meanings behind the elements and their composition and fact without them the incarnations cannot take place.
Author Duncan McGonall brings up many important issues within this novel as we learn the true meaning of deceit, lies, treachery and even real love. When Zoey explains her reasons for holding back some of which he should have learned as a child, the history about the amulet and what Tolen really wanted for him, and where the amulet really wound up and why. But, seeing is believing as Bruce was about to learn and experiencing events first hand just might bring things into better focus. When you read page 200 you will learn the truth behind it all and the part that religion plays and the two ways to practice magick. Just what lessons does Bruce learn about life; caring for others and not focusing on himself you will have to take the journey along with him to learn the meaning of true love, understanding and who and what you really are to others and more. An ending that is just the beginning and the journey has yet to be completed. Bread of Fools: Just who are those that are duped? Who remains in control and who will find the keys? The answers will be found and the questions answered when the author continues the journey. One thought provoking novel with characters that might seem that they belong in another dimension but when you really think about it you might realize that belong in ours too.