Far Endeavor

A Windflower Saga Novella

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
152 Pages
Reviewed on 05/24/2018
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Author Biography

Aleksandra Layland is a retired civil engineer and federal civil servant who worked primarily for the United States Air Force as a senior installation engineering manager responsible for buildings, airfields, infrastructure, fire protection, and emergency preparedness. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Western Caroline Islands where she helped build school classrooms and cafeterias, low income housing, and simple village water distribution systems.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Far Endeavor: A Windflower Saga Novella by Aleksandra Layland takes us on a journey through time and adventure as we follow the travels of three siblings - Lord Branimir Rongo, plus his sister and brother - as they set sail to find antiquities worth studying, for the university where they all either teach or study. This hazardous journey will open up new horizons for all three siblings and will transform their lives forever. Especially for Branimir, whose original quest for manuscripts will change to a search for his history and that of his family and clan. Born of the Kimbrii, the indigenous people, Branimir and his siblings are typical of his people, a mixture of the white and the dark. Their skin may be dark, but their eyes give away their heritage. Layland has created herself an entire uncharted world here, where dangerous voyages on small boats are required to find and explore ancient cultures.

This is a novella and as such is relatively short, but I found it fascinating and it drew me into this culture and world that Aleksandra Layland has created covering a broad span of stories. The writing is simple, yet endearing, and draws you into the story beautifully. Layland explores the heritage and birthright of these three siblings, as they set out on what was supposed to be just a simple voyage of archaeological interest, but would instead turn into a life-changing journey for all three of them. At its heart, Far Endeavor: A Windflower Saga Novella is a romance, and a very acceptable one at that, but scratch the surface and you find much more. The author’s dry and sometimes wicked sense of humour comes through in her characters, as does the subtle, but very real commentary on racism, sexism, war, and social mores that are equally as relevant in our world as they were in Lord Branimir’s. I have not previously read any of Layland’s work, but if nothing else, this book opened up a world of possibilities, for me, as a reader. I was impressed by this work and would encourage readers to take a look at her entire Windflower series, as I will indeed be doing. This is an excellent read.

Neil A White

Far Endeavor by Aleksandra Layland is the third novella in the Windflower Saga series. It can be read as a standalone novel and, in fact, recounts the familial history of the series’ main protagonist, Lord Branimir Rongo. Ms. Layland’s fantastical adventure begins with Rongo’s descendants sailing in search of new lands and falling prey to pirates. While the majority of the men folk are captured and sold as slaves, the women and youngest son escape and eventually wash ashore in a far off northern land. What follows is a story much akin to Homer’s Odyssey, yet is encapsulated in a novella of fewer than 130 pages. The amount of detail enclosed, the plethora of characters introduced, and years covered over the course of the book can be daunting.

That being said, I found it a wonderful read. In total, Far Endeavor is a stirring sea-borne adventure tale with the main protagonist exploring and uniting new lands. And, in the process, discovering a family history he thought lost, undertaking a spiritual awakening, and ultimately finding his true love. Ms. Layland has conjured up a wonderful and descriptive new world, and her imagination is certainly something to behold. Far Endeavor, for fans of The Windflower Saga, will be seen as a welcome addition to the series. And for fantasy novel fans in general, this will have them searching out the earlier two books in the series.