Ever since the slaughter of the witches, the Fae - who should be shielding their long-lost cousins from danger- have ignored the needs of the rest of the world. And shadows are again gathering in the Eastern villages - dark, potent shadows that threaten the lives of every witch, woman, and Fae. Only three Fae can stand against the growing madness and help prevent more bloodshed - the Bard, the Muse, and the Gatherer of Souls.
Aiden, the Bard knows how desperately the world depends upon the Fae's protection. but the Fae refuse to heed his warnings about the wickedness lurking amid the trees. Now Aiden and his one true love - Lyrra, the Muse - must embark on a perilous journey to find the one Fae who can convince the rest to leave their secure perches to save the witches and mortals. Because if the Fae don't act soon, no one will survive...
This is the second book in the Tir Alainn trilogy and follows on from Pillars of the World, and features many of the same characters. This time, the focus is more on Aiden, Lyrra and Morag. Aiden and Lyrra in particular are travelling through Tir Alainn trying to convince the other members of the Fae of the importance of the witches role in keeping their world whole.
Once again, the Inquisitors are at work, trying to bring all of the women under control, and to specifically destroy the power of the witches. This time, they are trying to exert their power by getting the most powerful leaders in the country to come round to their way of thinking and ban all women from reading, writing, painting, basically anything that can be seen to require independent thought is banned to all women in certain parts in the country.
We are introduced to a young baron, Liam, who is making his way to his first Baron's council, and as he starts to hear of plans to expand this policy across the country, he protests vigorously. The Inquisitor's are however very dangerous men, and Liam finds his life in danger, and has to flee back to his home via a very circuitous route. Liam and his new friend and fellow baron Patrick are determined to protect their women folk as much as they can, especially given that both of them have connections to Fae or witches themselves.
Meanwhile, Neall and Ari, who we first met in the last book have settled in their new home, and have Morag, The Gatherer, with them. As danger comes closer to their idyllic home, Aiden and Lyrra appear and no one is sure whether The Bard and The Muse can be fully trusted. It could be that sometimes you just need to take a risk in order to prevail.
In many ways this book feels like a second book! I know that that probably sounds funny in a way. It's just that it was very readable, but there were many things that were introduced that weren't explained. I realised that they probably will be in the third and final book, but by having things like Liam's power, Breanna (Liam's half sister) and Falco's budding relationship, and other things introduced and then kind of just left hanging meant that this book felt incomplete in many ways.
Another example is the marriage between Aiden and Lyrra. Whilst the reasons for their unusual union (in the Fae world at least) were very nicely written, there was lots mentioned about how horrified the rest of the Fae would be, but then when they met other Fae it either just wasn't mentioned, or was accepted.
So whilst I enjoyed reading this one, and am looking forward to reading the third and final book in this trilogy, it wasn't without it's faults!