Select one of the keywords
Flame of Sevenwaters    by Juliet Marillier order for
Flame of Sevenwaters
by Juliet Marillier
Order:  USA  Can
Roc, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though I will happily read any of Juliet Marillier's extraordinary fantasy series, her Sevenwaters novels have always been closest to my heart. Beginning with Daughter of the Forest they have centered on the Irish tuath of Sevenwaters, named for seven streams that flow down the hillsides to the tree-circled lake. They tell tales of folk who live in close proximity to otherworldly creatures, and often interact with them. Flame of Sevenwaters continues that tradition.

Its heroine is a most unusual one. As a child of ten years, Maeve, the daughter of Sevenwaters chieftain Sean and his wife Aisling, was badly burned in a stable fire (in Child of the Prophecy) and still blames herself for her failure to save her beloved hound Bounder. She was sent for healing to her aunt Liadan and uncle Bran at Harrowfield and has stayed there since. Though she is unable to use her hands, and her face is badly scarred, Maeve is content in this safe haven, where she has had the help of her maidservant and friend Rhian, and is valued for her remarkable talent with animals.

As the story opens, there is trouble for Lord Sean, continuing from events in Heir to Sevenwaters, in which Maeve's sister Clodagh braved the otherworld after her baby brother Finbar was replaced by a changeling on her watch. Clodagh not only saved her brother but also took away Cathal, son and heir of dark Tuatha De Danann prince Mac Dara. They are now married with two small children. Recently, a party of travellers have been taken by the fey near Sevenwaters, including the two sons of chieftain Cruinn of Tirconnel - corpses from this party are being found.

Now Lord Sean has asked Bran for a magnificent horse, Swift, to give to Cruinn in partial restitution for what happened. Bran asks Maeve to accompany the skittish animal across the ocean. Maeve's homecoming is a difficult one, but she becomes close to her brother Finbar, spending time with him and his tutor Luachan. She also adopts two wild, emaciated dogs, naming them Bear and Badger. When not only Finbar and Swift disappear into the forest, but also Bear and Badger, Maeve follows them, despite her limitations, and so begins another Sevenwaters quest.

Maeve faces harrowing trials (of both body and spirit) and betrayals before it ends. So does druid Ciaran, who must make his own long journey to learn a geis that might give them answers. There is a great sacrifice and also a great reward for the brave. It's been an enthralling series and Flame of Sevenwaters stands as one of the best entries, highly recommended.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Fantasy books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews