About the book:
A young woman is both a bard–and a warrior–in this thrilling historical fantasy from the author of the Sevenwaters novels.
Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. She and her brother train there to compete for places, and find themselves joining a mission while still candidates. Their unusual blend of skills makes them ideal for this particular job, which requires going undercover as traveling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.
Their mission: to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship, which has gone mysteriously missing. If the instrument is not played at the upcoming coronation, the candidate will not be accepted and the people could revolt. Faced with plotting courtiers and tight-lipped druids, an insightful storyteller, and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realizes an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the kingdom. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision and is faced with a heartbreaking choice. . .
This was a fabulous read. Told from three perspectives, we glimpse the trials and triumphs of Liobhan, Brocc, and Dau, three warrior/spies in training. Three voices, one story; three tunes, one song: for Brocc it is the deep, resonant notes that thrum along his harp/heartstrings, guiding him to the truth of who he is and what choices he must make. For Liobhan, it is the whistle of a pipe, leading the march for the warriors, but also trilling a playful tune to teach her that life is about more than just war, it is tied to the heart. For Dau, it is the rhythm tapped out on the bodhran, steady and sure to show him that his past does not define him, but does strengthen him.
I so enjoyed reading this story and getting caught up in Marillier’s lyrical storytelling. She crafted both a beautiful world and thoroughly-fleshed characters which brought this story depth and breadth. I look forward to getting lost in her worlds again.
Many thanks to Berkley Publishing Group/Ace and NetGalley for the digital ARC of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂