The Burial by Drew Montgomery

I have reviewed The Burial by Drew Montgomery for Reedsy Discovery.

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The Burial by Drew Montgomery navigates its readers through the emotional aspect of war. Unbeknownst to Eira, far from her home and family, a war was going on. As the prophet’s holy land came under attack by heathens, all men from her homeland were called upon to participate in the battle and defend their territories. Despite her pleadings and rebukes, Gwil, her husband, left for the war, leaving her and their three children behind.

Then, after two years, horrid news destroyed Eira’s hopes of meeting her husband not only in this life but also in another one. As it turned out, all the men of the town were killed and left to rot without ever given appropriate prophet’s rites. Even though shattered by this account, Eira did not admit defeat without one last push. Without entangling her brains into the many dangers that awaited a lone woman on such a journey, she set out to find her beloved husband’s body and give him a proper burial.

However, since all the priests, too, had been killed in the same war, she was left with no choice other than taking a drunken and reluctant priest, Finn, on this perilous journey. On this journey, she was not only accompanied by this priest and an adventurous bard (named Ulysses) but also dreams of a boat, storm, and her deceased husband. As time passed, in these dreams, Gwil’s face began deteriorating to the extent of becoming horrifying. She feared that this transformation indicated that her time of reaching her husband was quickly passing by.

The Burial is the very definition of clever and balanced writing. It could not have been easy to balance out the maddening destruction of war and the sentimental beliefs, yet, Drew Montgomery’s flawless narration achieved just that. Our heroine, Eira, witnessed the horrors and shivered with grief; however, she stubbornly refused to cower and hide behind these terrors. Time after time, she refused to compromise with her beliefs and take the easy road. Although unarmed, she established herself as a true warrior. Drew Montgomery, the author, gave her characters enough space and circumstances to grow and justify or explain their actions. The transition of apparent-monsters into emotional human beings was awe-inspiring.

“Life is never straightforward, and little is ever spoken plainly. We make the most of what’s given to us, with what decisions we can make with what little we know. And in the end, we can only hope that it turns out alright in the end.”

She fought back the tears as they threatened to come. “And when it doesn’t?”

“Then we put our head down, and we forge on. It’s the only thing we can do.”

– The Burial by Drew Montgomery

The many facets of war, with its brutality — both senseless and unavoidable, could not have been better portrayed. The Burial is one of those books that remain with you like a distant memory and make you shed a few tears of joy and grief now and then. Whether it was Gwil’s comforting grin or Eira’s struggle to reach her husband’s body in time, the storyline remained pure, sensible, and entrancing. The words are so powerful and aptly chosen in the narration that it becomes second nature for the readers to be involved. When Eira was taken far from the spot she hoped to find her husband, it would be hard for the audience to keep their emotions in check. Each conversation has an intellectual quality that pulls its audience and forces them to either shake their head with contempt or nod along with a sad smile. I highly recommend The Burial by Drew Montgomery to the readers who enjoy reading a war story with an emotional aspect.

“War seems to bring out the worst in people.”

“Does it? Is that it? Or is it just an excuse to let the awfulness out?”

“Maybe so.” He shrugged. “I saw people we’ve known our entire lives do terrible things. People who were always kind to us, who we always knew to be good.”

– The Burial by Drew Montgomery

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