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2019 Book Spotlight: Kerstin Hall Navigates Borders Beyond Life & Death in The Border Keeper

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  • Tip Bones

Kerstin Hall’s debut novella The Border Keeper speaks to more than the border between life and death. Deep within the 999 realms of Mkalis, Vasethe seeks out a favor from an eccentric woman called Eris, the border keeper between the world of the living (Ahri) and the underworld. He’s seeking the spirit of the woman he loved, and Eris agrees to guide him, provided he follows a few rules, of course.

Naturally, the rules of Mkalis are antiquated and filled with bureaucracy. Eris has a surprising past that comes back to haunt her, and as characters within this world are compelled by natural law to speak the truth, no one is who they appear to be. The narrative of this intricate world unbraids grief and alchemically transmutes it into one of healing within a traditional (yet not so) quest narrative.

Along with the cycle of grief and healing, The Border Keeper also explores reincarnation cycles. As souls move back and forth between Ahri and Mkalis, each with a valid lifespan, the memories of their prior lives fade once they are in their new body. All people here know what happens after death, but they still strive to find the ones dear to them or to avenge them to prolong their lives.

Imagine wounds that stretch over centuries. Envision intergenerational projects of justice and healing. In her debut novella, Hall weaves this intricate world that’s well-worth more than thumbing over.

The Border Keeper is available through the publisher Tor, as well as Kindle/Amazon and most bookstores.