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  • Brilliant: an exciting, convincing fantasy.

    I have been looking forward to ‘’Falcon Blue' since I devoured ‘The Sixth Labyrinth’: this author never lets the reader down. ‘The Blue Falcon’Falcon Blue tells the story of the first reincarnation of the three protagonists whom we first met as the three lead characters in the first of these series, ‘The Year God’s Daughter’ in Bronze Age Crete. Aodhàn MacKinnon told a version of this story to Morrigan in ‘The Sixth Labyrninth’ but he changed it to suit his own purposes. Then they were the brave and impulsive Aridela, Queen of matriarchalKaphtor, and her rival lovers, Chrysaleon, the arrogant heir to the patriarchal King of Mycanae, and the mighty warrior Menoetius, his illegitimate half brother and rival for Aridela’s love. It was in Ancient Greece that the Goddess Athene decreed that these protagonists must embark upon their epic journey, where their own fates would echo that of mankindin its travel through its tragic history. Then, Chrysaleon ignored the warnings of Athene’s oracles, and plotted the overthrow of matriarchal society, invoking a curse: ‘You have set this world upon its path, and so you will live it. You will watch it unfold, and you alone will remember everything you have done. Until you honor your vow, you will carry the burden of all your deceptions, and they will grow heavy.’ Chrysaleon , in fact, is the only one of the three who does remember his past, and this causes him constant misery. The former Aridela and Menoetius have only fragmented visions. There are other people who are part of this pattern of birth and rebirth. These include the priestess Themeste, Aridela’s loyal friend the Amazonian warrior Selene, Chrysaleon’s former slave Alexiare (who is implicated with him in the curse) and others. The chief of these is the brutal rapist, sadist and arch manipulator Harpalycus, once Prince of Tiryns. This man could teach Machiavelli some lessons.Whenever he appears in the story, you know that humour of the blackest sort will follow. However, his mode of immortality is different from those of the others, for he has learnt a magical process of ‘body hopping’ and has never died. Coming upon his three old enemies through a strange process of attraction,the former Harpalycus is delighted to trick and torment them. - And the wily and sadistic plotterhas learnt so much in the two thousand years since those days, that he is a master politician, who delights in the prospect of entrapping and torturing his old enemies all over again. Now, Aridela and the others meet again in the Scotland of the Dark Ages. In this lifetime, she is Eamhair of the fort ofDunadean is once again the daughter of a ruler, but he is a defeated petty chieftain, and her life is one of miserable servitude. She suffers from brutal mistreatment from her brothers. However, her father, who has promised her to his overlord, has made her into an unobtainable prize through rejecting a stream of would be suitors. He treats his wife like a slave. In the fort, the women are either drudges or prostitutes. Eamhair then, has no reason to suppose that women should be treated any other way; yet, she finds herself unaccountably angry at all this abuse. She has one hope; however. Her mother has predicted that a great ruler will come from the sea, and rescue Eamhair from her life as a chattel. One day, she literally bumps into a fierce dark warrior on a war horse, a wolf trotting at his side. He comes with her to the fort, and agrees to serve her father; but she knows that this enigmatic fighter is much more than he is willing to reveal. And about the same time, a strange male appears through her wall, and promises to rescue her. She thinks this is the King of the Seolhs,and he promises to take her away. Yet he perturbs her, with his evasiveness, his incongruous disguise as a monk, and his talk about his love for his lost wife … This, the sixth in the series of ‘The Child of the Erinyes’ is just as riveting as the others. As before, the reader is drawn into the saga of the torn loyalties, loves and rivalries of these characters. The writing is as brilliant as ever. The research is outstanding. The story is told with a minimum of authorial intervention – these characters reveal themselves and the landscape and the feel of the times. The building tension between the characters is all recounted in masterly prose as their fates interweave and another chapter of their history comes to its tumultuous conclusion.

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  • In my top 5 all time favorites

    Devastating. Beautiful. Intense. Mesmerizing, depthless heroine, epic hero. Story larger than life.

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