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Hearts and Love, great reads in February

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Shadows of the Trees

Shadows of the Trees, December 2015
Skorn #1
by Alistair McGechie, Sue Bridgwater

Self Published
Featuring: Drewin; Saranna; Kor-Sen
366 pages
ISBN: 0992747287
EAN: 9780992747282
Kindle: B018RMHME4
Paperback / e-Book
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"A subtle fantasy of searching for family"

Fresh Fiction Review

Shadows of the Trees
Alistair McGechie, Sue Bridgwater

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted December 23, 2015

Fantasy Saga

Iranor walks on the beach, an Immortal among the people in these early days of the world. She meets a fisherman mourning his brother lost at sea and asks him to teach her what it means to be mortal. Sue Bridgwater & Alistair McGechie have created a lovely fantasy reminiscent of the Earthsea books by Ursula LeGuin and the Celtic tales of the Fianna in SHADOWS OF THE TREES.

Kor-Sen is a small boy who lives with his mother Berget, a weaver, in a hot, busy town. When they are attacked because there is no man in the family, they move to a leather worker's home in a different quarter and try to carry on with life. But Kor-Sen's curiosity has been awakened and he starts to ask questions about why he doesn't have a father. He is taught to read runes along with a girl who is taught in secret as the temple priests forbid educating girls. Meanwhile, Drewin and Saranna, the children of Iranor and her now-dead fisherman, are playing under the trees on the Isle of the East - but they are not immortal, and weapons can harm them as they are to discover when they travel to the mortal world.

The separate journeys of the three young people form a richly woven coming of age story, walking us among undersea denizens, showing us the humble life of fishing folks and elucidating the secretive ways of the Temple and Academy. Kor-Sen learns to seize opportunities, make life twist to his wishes. Saranna, like most women with few choices, goes through life accepting her fate and letting others decide her actions. Drewin learns about fraternal relationships and cunning. Each one meets and loses friends, and finds themself at the end of a journey changed from the start.

I enjoy that this fantasy departs from the usual heroic quest or fight against evil. We see people choosing paths in the dawn of the world. While we do not see magic worked, the fight against fate, demi-god heritage and circumstance is quite vivid enough to draw us in to the characters' lives. Locations include a semi-sentient forest and an underworld, so contrast and creativity abound. This is the first story in the Skorn series by Sue Bridgwater & Alistair McGechie and after reading the gently worded SHADOWS OF THE TREES you can look forward to another tale to be called THE DRY WELL. Fantasy readers who want something different to the usual run of sword and sorcery novels should enjoy the series.

Learn more about Shadows of the Trees

SUMMARY

On a hidden island in the far western sea, two children are born to the goddess Iranor and her mortal lover.

In the city of Sen-Mar, a boy is born fatherless, and he and his mother are condemned as apostates.

These three children are fated to wander as exiles over the lands of Skorn, seeking peace and consolation.

From island to island, oversea and undersea, through forests and grasslands, they seek what they have lost.


What do you think about this review?

Comments

1 comment posted.

Re: A subtle fantasy of searching for family

Thank you Clare for this excellent review of 'Shadows of the
Trees', it shows so much understanding of our work.

I would just like to mention that this is the second novel
of Skorn, the first is 'Perian's Journey' which had its 2nd
Edition in 2014. The paperback of 'Shadows' has some
reviews of 'Perian' on its back cover.
(Sue Bridgwater 6:14am December 30, 2015)

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