The fifth volume in the acclaimed Tales of Goldstone Wood series keeps the mythic storytelling coming.
To meet her fiance, Alistair, the nephew and heir of Earl Ferox, Lady Leta travels to Gaheris Castle, where she begins taking reading lessons from the Chronicler, a reclusive dwarf who urges her to think for herself. She practices her reading with old nursery rhymes that, to her horror, begin to come true. On his deathbed, the earl makes a game-changing announcement, recognizing the Chronicler—Florien—as his son and rightful heir just as demons arrive intent on annihilating the House of Gaheris. Soon, a small band of travelers—Florien, Alistair, Mouse (a young woman on her own spiritual quest) and Eanrin (an immortal being)—sets out to make the nursery rhymes–turned-prophecies come to pass. Florien is to reclaim his ancestor’s sword and use it to slay the evil Dragonwitch. Readers will need to be patient, as the ambitious plot develops unhurriedly, and characters’ true identities and motivations are only gradually unraveled. Plot development is prioritized here, yet there is some admirable character development, particularly in Leta and Mouse, and explorations of the themes of destiny and forgiveness.
This complex tale with subtle Christian subtexts is best for fantasy fans who appreciate watching each unique piece of an enormous puzzle fall precisely into its place. (Fantasy. 13 & up)