I have been a dedicated fan of D. Wallace Peach’s writing since I picked up her first book, “Myths of The Mirror”. Diana’s skill as a polished writer and novelist were glaringly evident right from the beginning. Her new book “The Bone Wall”, which she describes as a dark novel, is a story I would better describe as a beautifully crafted and philosophical relevant story on human endeavors, as well as human foibles of self-destruction working themselves out. I almost want to say that she has strayed from tantalizing fantasy to theoretical social anthropology.
The Bone Wall is a story set in a futuristic world, a broken world of barren landscapes, fouled water and remnants of civilization, after the “deceivers” of the old world have long faded away into an ugly historical memory. What is left are two worlds, two regenerated civilizations separated by mutual animosity and distrust. What remains as remnants of the old world are domed cities, protected from outsiders by power shields, which are failing after centuries of use, and no one left to understand their workings, or how to keep them functioning. Outside the domes are the People, made up of tribes who’s social order is enforced via brute force, and magic of the Touched.
The story is told through twin sisters, Rimma and Angel, who grew up in the domed city Heaven, which is at its functional end time. The failure of the dome will leave the city totally defenseless to the hostile tribes who have encircled the city in wait of its collapse, when raiding the dome and the pillaging and plunder begins, along with the rape and killing of all those who do not kneel in supplication to the People. Woven into this story is magical realism, where the Touched are members of the tribes who have physical deformities, and magical powers of light bending, and Pyrokinesis, among others.
What is striking about this tale is the philosophical arguments woven into the story through the characters and their actions. Real human emotions and natural behavioral responses become played out throughout the story, as the characters from different world views, and abilities, clash and fight for survival in a broken brutal world. As in her other books, Diana Peach is master of metaphor, setting and depth of character. This book is in all senses a page turner. A story difficult to put down or turn away from, as we the reader, are the domed inhabitants, and People of our own time.