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Date Posted: 16:27:21 01/26/07 Fri
Author: Syl
Subject: The Blade of Fortriu

Another great sounding review sent in by Linda B. Thanks, Linda!

TITLE: The Blade of Fortriu

AUTHOR: Juliet Marillier

GENRE: Fantasy

Juliet Marillier's Sevenwaters Trilogy are great favorites of mine, on my "keeper" shelf and reread mulitiple times. Her newest trilogy of fantasy novels, The Bridei Chronicles, set in Pictish Scotland during the time of St. Columba and based on an actual Pictish King, Bridei, have joined them on that shelf.

The second book in the Bridei Chronicles, The Blade of Fortriu, measures up to and surpasses its predecessor, The Dark Mirror.

Bridei has been king for six peaceful years and is at last married to his childhood friend, the foundling Tuala. They have a small son, Derelei in whom the magic of the Good Folk runs very strong. The time has come for Bridei to put into motion his great plan to drive out the Gaels, reunite Fortriu and stop the incursion of the Christian faith. To that end he sends the royal hostage, Ana of the Light Isles, to be wed to a powerful northern chieftain, Alpin of Briar Wood. Little is known of Alpin, but Bridei hopes to secure a treaty promising that Alpin will remain neutral in the conflict. As the succession to kingship is by election from a pool of candidates born to women of royal blood, the advantage to Alpin of marriage to Ana is an attractive one.

Ana is very dear to Bridei and Tuala despite her status as royal hostage guaranteeing the good behavior of the vassal King of the Light Isles. Bridei wants to ensure that Alpin will be a suitable match for Ana and to that end he assigns her safety and welfare to Faolan, his chief spy/assassin/reluctant friend, a man thoroughly despised by Ana. They arrive at Briar Wood after a disastrous journey to find a place of secrets and a prisoner held in the bleakest of confinements.

This is very much Ana's and Faolan's book. Ana must choose between the demands of duty and those of the heart. Faolan, to me the most intriguing character in The Dark Mirror, undergoes a transformation and we learn why he has fled his homeland and presents himself as the seemingly emotionless assassin for hire.

While the military campaign to win back the lost territories figures in strongly and is well developed-I found it to be secondary in interest. As always, Marillier creates characters one cares strongly about and builds an entirely believable world.

Much is revealed in The Blade of Fortriu, especially the secret of Tuala's parentage, but many questions are left to be answered in the final book of the trilogy.

Linda B

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[> I have read the Dark mirror and I think I will have to reread it before reading The Blade of Fortriu. I loved the Dark Mirror and I can't wait for this one. I have enjoyed all of Juliets books. Ooh and she lives in OZ near Sheila!! -- Alissa, 17:32:01 01/28/07 Sun

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[> [> Yep 20 minutes away though I can't imagine dropping in for a cup of tea *g* I was thinking about these. I loved the Sevenawaters Trilogy. Thanks muchly. -- Sheila, 02:53:10 01/29/07 Mon

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[> I love, love, love the way she writes! She is my favorite author. Hosers if you have not read anything by her yet, you need to! -- Toddles, 12:43:26 01/29/07 Mon

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[> This looks great, I really enjoyed the sevenwaters trilogy. I will wait until they're all published before starting this though. -- Margy, 11:44:04 02/04/07 Sun

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