By Hal Friesen
Olivia and Voltan, brother and sister, bonded through the stories they read together growing up. Since their parents spent so much time running the spaceport that left Olivia as a surrogate mother for her youngest brother. In this illustration by Debbie Ha, we catch a glimpse of the possibility, the explorative nature of reading that allows two siblings to grow closer together. This is a scene before the events of the novel—before their world is turned upside down.
Voltan longs for these forms of escape with his sister as the situation in Grianach spirals out of control. He tries, on multiple occasions, to get her to sit down and read with him, but she's too consumed by the need to find their other brother, Pleo. Eventually Voltan seeks refuge elsewhere, to try and find another world, another place he can come to terms with. Olivia maintains her leadership role as a shepherd of other refugees.
In the end, the foundation provided by their childhood reading serves as a bedrock to help each other through the healing process. Never underestimate the power of reading.
Watch for Shepherds of Sparrows, now available on amazon.com
Book launches coming to Vancouver and Edmonton in spring 2014.