The Kura Book Cover The Kura
Underlined Book 1
Mary Patterson Thornburg
Science Fiction
Unical Press
April 17, 2015

Alyssha promised her father she wouldn't return to Bandor, and for six years she has kept that promise. But the hit-and-run victim she found dying on a Granville street was a man she met in that other world, and his family won't know what happened to him unless she goes back to tell them. She really has no choice, has she?
And the other dead man, the body lying in a willow grove near the road to Bandor Gan... Finding him there was just a terrible coincidence, wasn't it?
Alyssha fervently hopes so. Yes, six years ago Bandor had troubles – cruel and repressive laws, workers exploited in the city's woolen mills and the northern mines. Growing pains of the budding industrial revolution. Some people were angry, ready to fight. But these problems seem smaller and easier to solve, somehow, than the problems she's left behind. Bandor is cleaner, kinder, more peaceful, more right, than the frantic world she inherited in 21st Century America.
Anyway, the problems aren't hers to solve. There's so much country here that these troubles don't touch. She'll go to the nomadic village where her friends are, where she was happy all those years ago. She'll study with the old kura, learning to be a teacher, a healer. Her life will mean more, here among these cheerful, pleasant people, than it would mean in Granville. She'll find her home here, and she'll be content.
And, as in a fairy tale, there'll be a happy ending. She and Kardl loved each other back then, when they were children. Now they're grown up, and the daydreams that sustained her in Granville will come true at last. Kardl will be here, waiting for her, as she's waited all these years for him…
Won't he?

Charlayne Elizabeth Denney

Reviewer, Paranormal Romance Guild

Verdun Street Bridge is haunted. Everyone in small Granville, Indiana knows that. The bridge just feels weird. Alyssha Dodson has been planning her return to the small room under the bridge, just as soon as she graduates high school. As she’s returning from a rehearsal with a friend, they witness a hit-and-run of a man who seemed familiar, and in his dying acclamation, he says Alyssha will know. But know what?

When she was twelve, she and her brother had been playing around the small room and found themselves in Bandor, a whole different world from the one they grew up in. She came home, her brother, Billy, stayed behind. She also left behind a boy, someone who has been in her fantasies and thoughts for the last six years. Once she returns, she wants to study with the Kura, the medical/spiritual people of Bandor.

As she returns, things have changed, and sometimes not for the better. She discovers her dream guy is busy being someone important and another guy, Shan, is catching her attention. The politics have exploded into violence, and her brother is in the middle of it all.

There are also three star stone necklaces that have a power that influences the wearer. Alyssha has the red stone, her brother, known in Bandor as Bela Ru, has the blue one. The yellow is said to make people evil.

Bela Ru is trying to unite groups while stopping the inevitable clash of races that is brewing. Her childhood friend, Kardl, is holding onto a tenuous political position as the factions line up to face off.

The Kura is a good story with a very interesting study of race and politics using the story of Bandor as a backdrop. Alyssha and Billy are mixed-race, their father is white and their deceased mother is black. In Bandor, there are factions split by race competing with each other.

I enjoyed the story of Alyssha and how she fits into the civilization she has chosen to enter. Her love of the people she is with is obvious in the story. I actually missed the racial aspect at first. It only became apparent as the factions started squaring off.

This book is a YA or NA book, while there is mention of love and sexuality, it is lightly touched upon. The more serious story involves the racial tones, and once again, like the sexuality, it’s not forced or in your face, it’s dealt with in a logical and good story way.

I did get lost a few times in the names of Bandor, the places and people. Her naming conventions are odd, but since she’s dealing with a different world, that’s to be expected. I would have loved to have had a glossary of names that I could refer back to when I got lost and trying to remember who a character was and how they were connected.

The Kura is a good read for all ages.