by Cerece Rennie Murphy
One of my favorite things about the story of Order of the Seers is the many different types of love
I get to explore. Romantic love plays a strong role throughout the books, but there is also love of family, love of self, love of community and finally love for the world at large. Let me explain…
Love of Family
The first characters you get to meet in Order of the Seers (Book I) are Liam and Lillith (Lilli) Knight, a brother and sister whose love for each other is about to be pushed to a whole new level. At 16 and 13 years old, respectively, these young people haven’t had a lot of experience with sacrifice. While they both lost their father at a young age, they have lived a normal life in a modest, but comfortable home that their mother provided for them. I’ve always believed that sacrifice is the true measure of love. It’s easy to love someone when there is no inconvenience, no challenge and minimal effort on your part.
But when love costs you something, that’s when you know its importance in your life. At the tender age of 16, Liam sacrifices a lot for the safety and well being of his sister. The changes to his life are jarring and painful, with consequences he can’t even perceive at the start, but each time he is tested, he makes the choice to protect his sister, to love her, no matter what. And slowly, as Lilli grows and learns what love is through her brother’s selfless example, she returns his love with a commitment and sacrifice of her own.
Liam and Lilli’s story is just one way that familial love is explored in the books. Marcus Akida’s relationship with Alessandra Pino is another. At the point where you meet Alessandra, she feels as low as a person can feel. She is a slave – exploited for an extraordinary ability that she does not understand and can’t control. Every person, every interaction she can remember in her young life is about someone taking something from her. The people around her feed her, cloth her, keep her healthy only to keep her alive to exploit and she hates herself for it. When she first meets Marcus, she has no idea what to do with his kindness. In fact, she is immediately suspicious. His gentle demeanor is so unfamiliar that she runs from it, until he proves (and she realizes) that he is unlike anyone she’s ever met.
Not only does he not want anything from her, he wants to offer her something she has no concept of – a vision of herself outside of the exploitation of her daily life, a vision of her own potential, her own value, her own worth. For Alessandra, as with all of us who experience unconditional love for the first time, it is nothing short of revolutionary. Marcus becomes her mentor and friend first, then ultimately her father. And through his love, she becomes unstoppable.
The first time, Alessandra catches a glimpse of Liam in her future, her entire world shifts. She sees a man who holds her gently, smiles in delight at her presence and promises love with every syllable he utters. The notion that someone could, would and WILL love her that way is intoxicating. That simple vision gives her the courage she needs to risk everything to find him.
But love, as any mature person knows, is not enough. One of the things I truly enjoy about the love story between Liam and Alessandra is the necessity of finding themselves before they finally find each other. There is a lot of awkwardness and starts and stops, which is fun (and sexy!), but there is also a lot of soul searching. I wanted my characters to walk in to their love knowing their own value and taking the risk, not out of desperation or fear, but out of a real sense of who they are and what they want. By the time our couple comes together, they are two people who understand themselves and can honestly say they want the same things from each other, which makes for a powerful bond to carry them through all the craziness and danger that follows.
Although Liam and Alessandra are the “romantic leads” in Order of the Seers, they are not the only ones. Other characters represent different phases and levels of “romantic love that take you on a journey from the heights of physical love to the depths of a truly inseparable spiritual connection.
The journey of the Seers is absolutely one of self-discovery and love. As Seers within the Guild, they are striped of their memories, their identity, even their basic instinct to fight back. The entire context for their being is torn away. In place of these essential elements, they are given a purpose and identity that is solely about serving the needs of others. When the first of this group escapes the Guild, they literally do not know who they are, what they like or dislike or even the extent of their power to see the future. All of this they learn after they leave the Guild and are able to discover and define life on their own.
For Marcus Akida, his unique resistance to the Guild’s mind-controlling drugs allowed the natural process of his own self-discovery and awareness to remain uninterrupted and, as a result, he becomes the most powerful Seer the Guild has ever seen. Marcus never doubts his value, no matter how he is treated or what they use him for. And he doesn’t stop there. Through his optimism and understanding of his own value, he teaches Alessandra and every person he comes in contact with how to do the same. This profound sense of his own identify – outside of the one assigned to him – allows Marcus to use his gift in a way that no one ever imagined and that spark of authenticity changes the world, bringing down an entire regime. Marcus is who I want to be when I grow up.