First-time fantasy novelist Llamrei tells the story of a man’s chance encounter with a woman who’s much more than she seems.
Das moves from Toronto to a small Canadian town to start a new post-divorce life. On the way, he intervenes to stop a group of men from assaulting a woman. After he saves her, the woman, Aislinn, who speaks with an indeterminate accent, demands that Das not ask about her past. It turns out that she’s no mere human: Her father was one of the Sidhe, a group of immortal Irish gods whose world, Tir N’a Nog, is linked to the human world. Aislinn hopes to sever that link permanently to protect both sides from destroying each other. The novel’s first few chapters immerse readers in first-person accounts from both Das’ and Aislinn’s points of view—Das in the present day, and the “half-immortal” Aislinn throughout her millennia-long life, including in Ireland in the 12th century. Llamrei excels at foreshadowing future characters and events, including the little people whom apparently only Aislinn can see; Iarlugh, who wants the throne from Aislinn’s father; and Das adjusting to his new life in 2009. The author gradually adds plot layers to enhance the story; for example, Das and Aislinn learn of a connection between them, and reads learn why Aislinn can’t remember her life in the 12th and 13th centuries. Meanwhile, the author’s handling of modern-day concerns such as nuclear warfare, which can devastate both the immortal and human worlds, make the story’s more fantastical elements more engaging. The novel incorporates Irish mythological terms with gusto, and comes complete with a pronunciation guide.
An intriguing, time-hopping fantasy.