Juliet Marillier was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, a town with strong Scottish roots. She graduated from Otago University with degrees in arts and music, and has had a varied career which includes teaching and performing music as well as working in government agencies. Juliet now lives in a hundred-year-old cottage near the river in Perth, Western Australia, where she writes full-time. She is a number of the druid order OBOD. Juliet shares her home with two dogs and a cat.
Fostered to the Druid Broichan from his earliest years, Bridei lives devoted to study. From Broichan he learns Druidic lore, while other tutors in the Druid’s household teach him the arts of war and the history of the Kingdom of Fortriu. When a mysterious baby is left at the door in the dead of winter, it is the child Bridei who is led to her and takes her in. With her wide eyes and milk-white skin she is obviously not human but rather one of the Faerie folk, left at the house of Broichan for some unknown purpose. Broichan also has a purpose, a work of many years involving Bridei and the future of the divided and war-torn Kingdom of Fortriu. As the girl child, Tuala, grows it becomes clear that there is a strange bond between her and Bridei. Broichan fears the bond may threaten the destiny he has planned for Bridei. With mistrust from friends and the plots of unknown enemies at every turn, Bridei and Tuala face dark and lonely paths hoping to reconcile their destinies in a land where everyone thinks they should be kept apart. Marillier does ancient Britain better than just about anybody, I’ll be giving this one prime space in the Fiction and SF/Fantasy sections. Glorious. Stefen Brazulaitis is a bookseller and sci-fi/fantasy specialist at Dymocks Carousel. C. 2004 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors
Having given pre-Celtic Scotland a once-over in Wolfskin (2003) and Foxmask (2004), Australian author Marillier returns with a much more in-depth study that draws on what little history is known and surrounds it with the pretty boy-meets-girl story of Bridei, a boy raised by a group of wily councilors determined to mold him into a king who can reunite their divided land, and Tuala, his fey-born adopted sister who runs wild while he studies and is outcast where he is welcome. No one familiar with the current crop of historical fantasy will be in the least surprised by Bridei's extraordinary ability to command both men and magic, or Tuala's struggle to be accepted as a strong-willed and intelligent woman in an alien and prejudiced society. Yet somehow, carefully rounding her characters and paying exquisite attention to detail, Marillier pulls it off so well that you completely forget you've read essentially the same story a hundred times before. Fans of Judith Tarr, in whose footsteps this tale meticulously treads, will be enthralled, and the happy ending-all too rare in first volumes of series, and only slightly overshadowed by the inevitable dark portents-will encourage new readers to seek out both future installments and past publications. Agent, Russ Galen. (July 17) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.