Mammoths at the Gates

Tor.com. (Singing Hills Cycle, Bk. 4). Sept. 2023. 128p. ISBN 9781250851437. $19.99. FANTASY
The steps of wandering Cleric Chih have turned towards home. They expect to find the monastery much as they left it, but they return to mammoths blocking the gate and their oldest friend in mid-argument with the commander of the force. Chih learns that their mentor is dead, the clerics and apprentices have rushed to the site of a new discovery, and the home they expected to be a haven is nearly a battleground. Expecting peace, instead Chih finds chaos and change, but amid the depths of mourning and regret there might just be a space where the nearly warring forces can meet in an uneasy middle. Chih finds themself an outsider in the place they call home and grieves for not just the loss of their mentor but also the changes in themself and their once closest companion. But grief proves to be bittersweet as their late mentor’s experience continues through one profoundly grieving bird.
VERDICT This fourth entry in the “Singing Hills Cycle” series, after Into the Riverlands, is every bit as beautiful and thought-provoking as its predecessors. Highly recommended for fans of the previous books in the series and for anyone who loves their fantasy colored with myth, legend, and bittersweet truth.
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