In this captivating third installment in Marillier's historical fantasy series (after 2006's Blade of Fortriu) set in the sixth-century Scottish Highlands and Ireland, Faolan of the Uí Néill clan—bard, assassin, spy and adviser to the Pictish King Bridei of Fortriu—must complete three difficult missions. For Bridei, he must track down a cleric named Colmcille. For his own peace of mind, he must return home to Erin and confront his past. (Ten years earlier Faolan faced an impossible choice that shattered his family and left his eldest brother dead.) For his deceased comrade Deord, he must bring news of the warrior's death to the man's family in Cloud Hill, a task that lands Deord's impoverished 16-year-old daughter, Eile, and her toddler in Faolan's care. Faolan brings Eile back to the court of King Bridei, where they find themselves enmeshed in a plot against the king's half-fey son, Derelei. Despite some anachronistic instances of liberated female behavior and a few discordant modern colloquialisms, this episode will appeal to series fans and new readers alike.
This is the third in the brilliant Bridei Chronicles, and takes place almost immediately after where Blade of Fortriu ends. Faolan returns to his homeland to complete a mission for Bridei. As he informs Deord's family of his death into his life comes Eile, Deord's daughter. Eile helps a heartbroken Faolan to heal.
New characters are introduced in this volume as well as the old characters of course. I would have to say, and I have read pretty much all of Juliet's books that Eile and Faolan are two of the best characters she has ever created they gave so much to this instalment both having been through so much.
A brilliantly developed and fast-paced novel, I hope this is not the last of Bridei's chronicles.