“Silver and Salt: A Mythos Novella” a beautiful tale

4 out of 5 stars

Everything seems to have its moment. From a wave of vampires to hoards of zombies filling our screens and bookshelves, those who are looking for a particular brand of entertainment can find it. It seems like “retellings” are having their heyday now, and I’m about it. Mythos, folktales, and fairy tales with new dressings and flavors are flooding the market, and for the most part, it’s welcome.

“Silver and Salt: A Mythos Novella” by Mark Jonathan Runte is one such welcome novel. The mythos he explores is one I’m only vaguely familiar with, having briefly touched on in at some point in school but not delved deeper on my own time. But it’s clear he’s blending many different myths, legends, folktales, and more to create a rich, vibrant alternative reality to our own. It is so entangled in our own, that it makes you wonder if the person standing next to you at the grocery store or the gas station could just turn into a horse or a wolf at any moment. More so, it makes you wonder if the ancient gods do, in fact, still wander among us.

All of his works are at least slightly interconnected. At the risk of a slight spoiler, I was delighted to see a character from another book of his I read “Ash” (read my thoughts on that here) make a brief appearance. This reminds me of how small the world is, and how interconnected we all are. The beautiful interweaving of various cultures, mythos, and characters, serves as a beautiful tapestry for a haunting and action-packed tale.

Silver and Salt

“Silver and Salt” follows the tale of Aran, an ancient soldier of Poseidon. Aran recounts his life story to his “little brother,” another shapeshifter child in the family that has adopted him for many years. But though Aran looks like a young man, he is a centuries-old, immortal, god-like creature, and has a harrowing, human-like tale of loss, love, and suffering to share.

Expertly interweaving ancient timelines and today, Runte shares Aran’s story in stages slowly revealing how he came to live so far from his original home. He also slowly reveals how it’s harming him – both physically and mentally, and beautifully explores the human emotions around grief, loss, and difficult choices.

Runte is still a young writer, and this story could have used another pass from a copy editor. There were a few passages that repeated and several typos, all of which admittedly were enough to pull me out of the narrative temporarily. So if you are sensitive to that, be forewarned. But what Runte lacks in composition, he makes up for beautifully in storytelling.

If you enjoy mythology, action-packed scenes, and exploration of the human condition, Runte’s work is absolutely for you.

Content Warning: violence, child death, violence against women