Juliet Marillier holds advanced degrees in music and languages, and has had a lifelong passion for both Celtic music and Irish folklore. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed Sevenwaters trilogy, Wolfskin, Foxmask and The Bridei Chronicles. She resides with her family in Perth, Western Australia.
The clash of cultures and the limits of loyalty form the thematic framework of Marillier's compelling new stand-alone fantasy. Readers familiar with the author's Sevenwaters trilogy (Daughter of the Forest, etc.) will feel comfortable with the Dark Ages setting. Young Viking Eyvind dreams of serving the god Thor and the nobleman Ulf as an elite Wolfskin warrior. While training, he's charged with teaching Ulf's prickly younger brother Somerled, and the two become blood brothers, swearing lifelong loyalty. But the oath isn't enough to quiet suspicions about Somerled's ambitions to become a king and the means he might take to accomplish them. The two join Ulf on a voyage to a legendary land, "a place of warm sea currents, of verdant islands and sheltered waterways," home to the peaceful Folk of the Light Islands, ruled by King Engus. Though Engus extends a hand of friendship to the sea rovers, his niece, the young priestess Nessa, has her doubts about the warlike newcomers. When a foreign fever decimates the Folk but leaves the seafarers untouched, the truce begins to unravel. A multilayered plot, intriguing characters and lyrical prose distinguish a novel that, long as it is, never feels padded. (June 29) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Young Norseman Eyvind's dream of becoming a Wolfskin (Viking) reaches fruition when he joins an expedition led by the local ruler's kinsman Ulf that will sail to a bright land across the sea. Accompanied by his blood-brother Somerled, Eyvind finds a land occupied by people willing to welcome the newcomers and share with them what they have. When Eyvind discovers that Somerled has come to the new land for his own dark reasons, he finds himself forced to choose between his childhood oath and his sense of honor as a faithful warrior of his people and his gods. The author of the "Sevenwaters Trilogy" displays a thorough grounding in Norse culture in this series opener, which is based on the coming of the Vikings to the Orkney Islands. Appealing characters and graceful prose make this a strong addition to most fantasy collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.