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Son of the Shadows    by Juliet Marillier order for
Son of the Shadows
by Juliet Marillier
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

This is the second volume in the Sevenwaters trilogy, following the author's highly acclaimed first novel Daughter of the Forest. Son of the Shadows is Liadan's story. She is the younger, darker daughter of Sorcha. As told in the previous book, Sorcha risked everything to save her seven brothers, when they were turned into swans by an enchanter. Her love for Hugh the Briton began the changes which might ultimately reconcile warring cultures.

Liadan is a gifted seer and healer just growing into her powers. She sees her future as one of care for her dying mother and for the home she loves, and perhaps marriage to Eamonn, young, handsome and wealthy Lord of neighbouring estates. But by chance Liadan is carried off to care for a dying outlaw. He is a mercenary in the band of the notorious Painted Man, who is Eamonn's hated enemy and is feared by all as a killer for hire to the highest bidder. Liadan is terrified but stubbornly insists on trying to save her patient against all the odds. She cannot succeed, but in the process begins to view Bran, as she calls the Painted Man, and his mercenaries, in quite a different light. Against all her instincts, Liadan comes to love Bran, even knowing that her relatives, including her uncle Conor the Arch-Druid, will oppose her. She knows also that the Tuatha de Danaan are trying to force her to accept their plans for her future.

This is the story of an all-powerful love which must defy impossible odds, but which will change the lives of all whom it touches, and may change the course of history itself. Uncharitably, it might be called a Gothic Romance set in a long ago Ireland of myth and folk tale. However it is much more than that. Marillier writes fluently and with a deep sense of history, which must include the beliefs of those who lived with the Tuatha de Danaan and the Fomorians and all the other creatures of the woods and the mists. She makes us believe in Liadan, her powers and the world she lives in, and to like her, and to wish her well. The third volume in the trilogy will be eagerly awaited.

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