In ancient Ireland there came a time when the fairy folk, the Old Ones, could no longer inhabit the land. Clodagh's family have protected the forest of Sevenwaters for generations, it is one of the last refuges for the Fair Folk and there has always been an fragile peace. Clodagh is one of six daughters and at long, long last the baby boy that has been so hoped for is born to her parents.
Baby Finbar is only a few days old when he disappears and a doll made of twigs is left in his place. To Clodagh's dismay, she can see that the twig-baby is alive. She can see it breathe and move and hear its hungry cries. No one else can see this, only Clodagh, and she cannot bear to see the little stick baby die. It seems to her that the Fair Folk must want an exchange. While her father and his men search for a missing man that they suspect in the kidnapping, she packs a bag and the twig-baby and sets out to find her tiny brother.
Before long Clodagh meets the fugitive that her farther is looking for, Cathal, in the forest. He claims not to know anything about the baby's disappearance and Clodagh desperately wants to trust him. He becomes her companion in a quest that will require every ounce of their strength and courage if they are going to venture into the fairy realm and return home once again.
Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite authors. She takes ancient folklore tales from Ireland and Britain and breathes life into them. Her books are full of complex and interesting characters who always have a quest or task to complete or a mission to fulfill. The old landscapes and fairy realms are vividly described. This one is no exception. I'm always anxiously awaiting her latest book and have never been disappointed, they are wonderful.
This is the fourth book she has written about Sevenwaters but it is not necessary to have read the others before reading this one. Earlier characters do occur, but only peripherally, and this story stands easily on its own. If you like historical fiction with a little bit of magic thrown in, give these a try!
Visit Juliet Marillier's website here.
Heir to Sevenwaters is published by Roc. ISBN 978-0-451-46233-6