Last in our Heroes series, by Robert Rhodes. Art is courtesy of Electra Wilson.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews

In the White Garden are many mirrors and many pools. She wanders among them in the unfailing daylight, watching as glass and water open on the crossroads of distant lives.

In an ivy-framed mirror, a shepherd girl weeps, unable to touch her oldest friend, bound in a tomb of ensorcelled ice. In one pool a young emperor stands at the edge of desert and ruined highway, choosing knowledge above all the pleasures of his world; while in one beside it, a queen becomes a beggar girl, and a servant becomes a queen, so that one might seek her husband’s fate, the balm for her shattered heart.

An old man teaches a boy to read. A young woman rides away from the only father she has known. A man of myriad voices gently sings, in his true one, and holds the hand of his silent sister. A lean woman, her golden hair silvered by moonlight, with eyes like a falcon’s, dashes through rain-slicked streets, preparing for her prey.

She sees them all, as their lives flower and fade, the most rich and rare of all the Garden’s blossoms. And when she must, she whispers through the shadows of their minds.

Hold fast. Fear not.

Most do not see themselves as heroes. Fewer still wished to take every step on their uphill paths.

Onward. You do not walk alone.

But in the grip of darkness, their light endures – endures and brightens the world around them, and glass and water, and the tear-filled eyes of the lady in the White Garden.

Go and live. Go and love!


The Lady © Robert Rhodes, 2010. All rights reserved.
art used with permission: “Beyond the Gate” by Electra Wilson

Author’s note: This marks the end of the “20 Heroes” series and a point of departure for my writing career. First, I’d like to thank Kat and FanLit for graciously featuring my work here. I’ve enjoyed writing these and, on the whole, am quite happy with the end result. Rest assured that some of these heroes have more stories awaiting them. Second, I’d like to thank the various artists whose contributions helped bring the series to life.

It’s been a busy year for me, but a good one, and “20 Heroes” and the positive comments you’ve left have played no small part in making it good. (I have a full retrospective on my blog.) I wish you a new year that’s fantastic in every sense of the word.

Cheers, RR
(Follow Rob at Twitter.)


  • Rob Rhodes

    ROB RHODES was graduated from The University of the South and The Tulane University School of Law and currently works as a government attorney. He has published several short stories and is a co-author of the essay “Sword and Sorcery Fiction,” published in Books and Beyond: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading. In 2008, Rob was named a Finalist in The L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. Rob retired from FanLit in September 2010 after more than 3 years at FanLit. He still reviews books and conducts interviews for us occasionally. You can read his latest news at Rob's blog.