A young medieval healer becomes involved in a dangerous political scheme.
Lassair lives with and learns from her aunt Edild, a healer and herbalist of prodigious skill who sends Lassair to tend to her cousin Morcar, attacked and left for dead on Ely Island in the waterlogged Fen area of East Anglia. Accompanied by her friend Sibert, who lives with his mother and uncle Hypre, a sorcerer, she travels to Ely. The island is a-bustle with men building a huge new Norman abbey—a job that involves destroying the Saxon chapel of Saint Elfreda. Lassair saves Morcar, but the murder of several men who looked and dressed like him makes it clear that her cousin knows a deadly secret, presumably connected to his glimpse of the abbey’s monks roughing up a pale lad. Lassair has Sibert take Morcar to safety while she meets and learns more about the simple young man. Sibert, whose father died after a battle at Ely, has his own reasons for returning. Between them they discover dangerous and heartbreaking secrets from the past. At length Lassair meets an attractive man who also seeks the pale boy, a pawn in a dangerous game that could lead to death for them all.
The second in the Aelf Fen series (Out of the Dawn Light, 2009) is a worthy continuation of the entrancing story of Lassair, whose talents are both practical and mystical.