From Publishers Weekly
The pseudonymous Farrell's formidably long and richly detailed fantasy debut launches a new series that's sure to delight fans of Celtic fiction. A magic talisman that holds the fate of the world falls out of the sky onto the tale's nave, 17-year-old heroine, Jenna Aoire, one night while she's herding sheep on Knobtop Hill with her dog outside the village of Ballintubber. The pebble-sized object, which turns out to be the Cloudmages' master spell-stone, the L mh Sh bh la, soon leads to trouble for Jenna and her mother, who must flee for their lives from their enraged neighbors. They come under the protection of the House of Mac Ard, but treacherous lords who covet the spell-stone ensure no rest for the weary refugees. In this thinly disguised medieval Ireland, every man's hand can be turned against every other's (and women aren't backward in the fight, either), particularly when the stakes are as high as they are here. Much intrigue involving a multitude of mostly well-drawn characters and little bloodshed make for a relatively leisurely plot by the standards of this subgenre. Powerful scenes of magic-wielding and the vividly depicted Celtic society, though, should hook persistent readers, who will be glad for the glossary of character and place names, a guide to the Daoine calender, a list of the holders of the L mh Sh bh la and more at the end of this challenging book.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Bringing home the sheep one evening, Jenna idly picks up a stone that feels good in her hand. She pockets it, and her life is never the same thereafter. The stone is Lamh Shabhala, a cloch na thintri
that gathers and holds the mage-lights from the sky. Indeed, it is the master such stone, capable of waking the others, and by choosing Jenna, it makes her First Holder. Although that is a painful, disfiguring, emotionally challenging responsibility she doesn't particularly want, many others whose motives are entirely self-serving do. Already, other cloch
are waking, and since, throughout history, the stones have been used as instruments of war and destruction, their holders intend to battle for all the power they can grab. Yet previous holders, who live on in Lamh Shabhala, want an era of peace and prosperity to begin with Jenna. Is she strong enough to rise to the occasion? Besides great, fast-paced fun, full of politicking and betrayal, Farrell's tale is a tragic love story with a surprisingly satisfying ending. Paula LuedtkeCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved