The Legacy of the Bones is quite a feat
By Derryll White
Redondo, Dolores (2016). The Legacy of the Bones.
“Pain when inside is stronger
It isn’t eased by sharing.”
Dolores Redondo masterfully brings the Navarre region of northern Spain to life in her novels. She weaves mythic tales from the Basque people into the weft of the story, blending them like the best of the storytellers of ancient times.
Redondo captures place as well as any of the best mystery writers such as Dibdin, Leon or Burke. She is so descriptive and engaging in fact, that she should be commissioned by the tourist associations of the Navarre region. I fully intend to go and explore the Baztán Valley after reading the first two of Dolores Redondo’s exceptional novels.
Detective Inspector Amaia Salazar reminds me of Stieg Larsson’s character Lisbeth Salander. Reading the second volume of her Baztán trilogy (first being ‘The Invisible Guardian’) I believe that once the second volume becomes widely accessible the series may hit as big as Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy did a few years ago.
Redondo has all the prerequisites – a stunning story rooted in an old and as yet relatively undiscovered culture, very strong characters and an intriguing mythological connection that explores the base sources of good and evil. I think she cannot miss.
The psychological depths that Inspector Salazar plumbs also wraps the reader inseparably into the story, relating at a personal level whether male or female. Quite a feat!
Excerpts from the novel:
CHURCH INFLUENCE – “I know that dozens of women in the Baztán Valley were accused of witchcraft and burnt at the stake, many of them denounced by their neighbours – and those were women who’d been born and bred in the valley. Anything that deviated from the norm was thought to be the work of the devil, for which countless minorities and ethnic groups throughout Europe suffered as a consequence. No country’s history is free of such episodes. I’m no historian, Jonan, but I know that during the Middle Ages the whole of Europe reeked of human flesh, burnt at the stake.”
PLACE – Strong gusts of wind had swept away any lingering clouds over Arizkun. Perched on a hill, it was one of those towns where time seemed to have stood still, open to the skies and the extraordinary light much missed in other villages in the valley. The emerald meadows glistened with the perfection of idyllic splendour, and beneath each cobblestone lurked whispers from a past that was still present.
FAITHFUL – “When we decide that we love someone so much we renounce all others, it doesn’t make us blind or invisible, we continue to see and be seen. There’s no merit in being faithful when we aren’t tempted by what we see, or when no one is tempted by us. The true test arises when we meet someone we would fall in love with if we were single, a person who makes the grade, whom we like and are attracted to, who would be perfect if we hadn’t chosen another perfect person. That’s being faithful, Inspector.”
TWINTS – “I’ve always dreamt about her, Auntie, from when I was small I still do. I thought she was me, but now I know she was my sister., the little girl I was born with. They say identical twins are like the same person, joined by a special bond that enables them to see and feel the same things. All my life I have been experiencing her pain, Auntie.”
– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them. When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org