Raven Flight, by Juliet Marillier

Three Guardians to find, all in different corners of Alban; three branches of knowledge to master; and then, the disparate talents of humankind and Good Folk to be brought into an alliance strong enough to stand up against the might of Keldec and his Enforcers…all that in a scant year and a half? When I had thus far failed to exchange even one word with the Folk Below? It was…I must not say impossible. I was one of Regan’s rebels now, and I must not even think it. ‘Ill try my best,’ I said.

Safe in the shelter of Shadowfell, the rebel base, Neryn is rebuilding her strength and learning what her skills as Caller might be able to achieve. She knows that, if she can master her gift, she will be a powerful tool for the rebels to defeat the King and free Alban of his tyranny. But mastering her gifts will take time, and suddenly time is something she doesn’t have. If the Rebels’ plan is to work, she has only eighteen months to learn what she needs to know, and gain the support of the Good Folk.

As soon as winter ends, Neryn is on the road, seeking out the three Guardians who can teach her what she needs to know. Each is in a remote corner of Alban, and travelling in a kingdom where her magical skills are perilous should they be discovered is difficult. Her companion is Tali, a fighter who will defend her with her life, but who would rather be elsewhere. As they travel, both face challenges which will test them beyond their limits.

Raven Flight is the sequel to Shadowfell, and the second in the trilogy. For a reader new to the series, it doesn’t take long to get caught up in the tale, though reading the first would be an advantage, and, one suspects, rewarding. Marillier’s characters are engaging, the world captivating and the story tightly woven. Whilst, as is necessary in a trilogy, the ending leaves the reader wanting more, the end point is in itself satisfying, with enough of this instalment resolved, and equally enough hints at what is yet to come.

A really satisfying tale.

Raven Flight (Shadowfell)

Raven Flight , by Juliet Marillier
Pan Macmillan, 2013
ISBN 978174261224

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The Dark Mirror, by Juliet Marillier

When four year old Bridei is fostered by Broichan, the King’s druid, he has no idea of what implications this holds for his future. Broichan is part of a secret council of elders who have plans for Bridei and for the future of their homeland. In the meantime, Bridei knows only that he must apply himself to his studies and be always obedient.

When Broichan is away, in the depths of winter, Bridei receives an amazing gift. In the middle of the night a baby is left in the snow outside the house. Bridei is sure this little girl, Tuala, has been sent as his sister. As the two children grow up together they forge a bond which no one can break. Will it threaten the future of the whole land?

The Dark Mirror is book one in The Bridei Chronicles, a new historical fantasy trilogy from one of the best of the genre’s creators, Juliet Marillier. The plot is skilfully layered, with plenty of twists and turns and characters who, in turn, are often surprising.

Fans of Marillier’s work (other offerings include the Sevenwaters trilogy) will be delighted with this new offering. Readers new to her work will be intrigued enough to seek out her other works. All will look forward to the next instalment.

The Dark Mirror, by Juliet Marillier
Tor, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, 2004 – this edition 2005