The Iron-Tree, by Celia Dart-Thornton

Jarred has a special gift – but it is one he must keep a secret. Still, his friends have their suspicions about him – he seems to evade death so regularly, that they wonder if he is invincible. Now Jarred and his friends are leaving their desert village and heading out to explore the world, in search of adventure. Jarred is hoping he will also find answers to the mystery of his father’s disappearance when Jarred was ten.

When Jarred meets Lillith he knows his life will never be the same again – but he doesn’t realise how closely their fates are linked. Then, when he visits the Red City, Cathair Rua, Jarred uncovers another secret, that of the Iron Tree, and at the same time the uncomfortable realisation of his father’s identity.

The Iron Tree is a gripping fantasy novel, with unique peoples and settings, which will fascinate lovers of the genre. Jarred’s problem – his apparent immortally – is an intriguing one which will provoke thought.

This is the first book in The Crowthistle Chronicles and readers will be keen to read the next instalment.

The Iron Tree, by Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Tor, 2004

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