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Only the Stones Survive    by Morgan Llywelyn order for
Only the Stones Survive
by Morgan Llywelyn
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a lovely, memorable and absorbing tale (a blend of fiction and fantasy) of the famed Túatha Dé Danann, the fairies of Irish legend, whose island of Ierne was one in which time flowed strangely and the seasons gently.

Only the Stones Survive opens on a battle in which the leaders and warriors of the Children of Light are slaughtered by the invading Milesians. One survivor crawls across the battlefield seeking his beloved wife and when he finds her, the 'cry he gave was enough to shatter the canceled stars.'

Then we are introduced to Elgolai na Starbird who grew up as Joss, only son of a noble family of the Túatha Dé Danann, whose clans were formed of a community of extended families. From an early age, Joss was taught by the Dagda, who (rather like Yoda) rarely gave straight answers. But his idyllic childhood ended abruptly with the coming of war.

Gaels bring it, Milesians led by six brother princes (including the druid Amergin) who fled the Iberian Peninsula in search of new lands. They are guided to Ierne by Phoenician Sakkar. Though the Túatha Dé Danann could have prevented their landing, Amergin's harp enchants them and compassion for the many children on the boats holds their hands.

There are early signs of the Túatha Dé Danann's talents, as when they heal Sakkar's crippled shoulder and use the Green Wave against the Gael's fleet. But they refuse to use their most powerful weapons, Earthkillers, horrors which would make them 'horrible too'. And so they die. All this triggers Joss's own growth and talent early.

Joss ends up leading 'a straggle of survivors' west, where descendants with 'dreams in their eyes' will repopulate the island. And he tells us that 'Not only the stones survive.' Though the Túatha Dé Danann are almost too good to be true in this novel, it is one that I enjoyed very much and recommend to you as well.

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