What would you do . . . to live?
asa kraiya is the sequel “that never should have happened” to my two traditionally-published fantasy novels, Lion’s Heart and Lion’s Soul (Baen Books, 1991). Greatest of warriors and greatest of leaders, Fourth Chevenga Shae-Arano-e lives “the life of other men’s dreams”—except that he faces certain death by the age of thirty.
When a healer with the gift of seeing the human aura offers Chevenga the chance of long life if he undergoes the necessary changes—including going asa kraiya (in his language, “beyond the sword”), that is, giving up warriorhood—he goes for it.
His ensuing journey forces an exploration not only for Chevenga, but for his whole culture, into the meanings of power and war, love and family, sanity and insanity, pain and pleasure, spirituality, human nature and more, ultimately posing the biggest question—what in life is truly important, anyway?
Emotionally intense and yet shot through with humour, the story is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which the different cultures, their values, customs, languages and so on are portrayed in great detail, so as to give the reader a feel of being there. Almost 3,000 years after a human-made cataclysm reduced both human population and technology back to primitive levels, civilization is slowly rising again. Here and there, tiny relics and pockets of the old knowledge are left, some useful, some merely intriguing, which people deal with in different ways, sometimes guard secret, sometimes use and sometimes spread, so that there are all kinds of possibilities.