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 Luedtke
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I was blown away with this book. The feeling of reality brought out from this fantasy was overwhelming. Holder of Lightning caught my attention and kept it. Read morePublished on May 26 2004 by Meghan
I do recommend the book. It gives much depth to many past and present characters, and leaves many of them open to be explored in the future. Read morePublished on Oct. 29 2003 by barb fashant
The gorgeous cover that features our main character, Jenna Aoire, using Lamh Shabhala as curls of colored air dance around her was what caught my eye in one of my favorite... Read morePublished on Oct. 4 2003 by Martha
This is a fabulous book and I don't understand why I haven't heard more about it. I know it's the first book in a series by a new author, but this is easily as good or better than... Read morePublished on July 24 2003 by Miranda Johnson
This book is one of the most grounded and facinating books that i have ever had the privledge of reading. Read morePublished on March 29 2003 by "magestaff"
Be prepared for a complex story not to be completed in a single volume: Holder Of Lightning is Book 1 of the Cloudmages series, and is the first in an anticipated epic which, if... Read morePublished on March 8 2003 by Midwest Book Review
Holder of Lightning continues the great fantasy remniscent of writers like Robert Jordan and J.R.R. Tolkein. I can't wait to read the next book in this series. Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2003
This is a great start to a new fantasy epic. Normally when I read an epic, quick and easy references to Tolkein pop into mind (especially these days). Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2003 by Chris Pasley