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Historical Legend, Magic, Mythology - A Superb New Novel!

 

 

Canadian author Marie Powell earned her Maters degree in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and has written forty children’s books as well as short stories and poetry in literary magazines. As a professional writer and editor, she offers writing workshops, and teaches Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. She now enters the young adult fantasy genre with SPIRIT SIGHT, the initial volume of her Last of the Gifted series.

Opening this refreshing new novel with a Character Guide, defining the cast as well as providing a very useful pronunciation guide for the Welsh names, offers the sense of the author’s respect for her young adult reading audience. The author’s choice to explore the historyof Wales is also an added benefit to the library of medieval history.


The writing style of the author contributes to the synergy of weaving history with romance and fantasy – elegant yet immediately accessible to the reader, as the opening lines suggest: ‘He raised his arms, feeling bone and feather flatten against the wind, and knew himself tethered to air currents that smelled of salt and fish, somewhere off the horizon. He ran below the bird, yet his mind and the hawk’s mind moved as one. He could feel the dry December grasses beneath his bare feet, but he saw as the hawk saw: a flash of grey fur in the stubble, the swaying pattern of a tree branch. He tried to turn the hawk’s mind – his mind – to his will, and for a moment he succeeded. In the distance he could see the stone watchtower of his home at Garth Celyn, seat of the royal court of Wales…’ And so wemeet Hyw whose influence on the story is immense.

The author provides a terse breakdown of the plot:1282 Wales A warrior-in-training [Hyw] can control the minds of animals. His sister [Cat] can see the future in a drop of water. Now they are all that stand between their people and the invading English army. Hyw’s gift—seeing through the eyes of birds and animals—could win him aplace in the Prince of Wales’ bodyguard. But ambush and murder force Hyw to stretch his gift in unexpected ways. When the prince tries to use Hyw to spy on the invading English, they clash with old friends and ruthless enemies. Hyw’s sister Catrin sees visions of death and disaster. The young nobleman she’s pledged to marry thinks his love endangers her gift. But they must work together to prevent the genocide she foresees. Can the gifts be trusted? Will Hyw master his in time? Or will their world shatter around them? A medieval fantasy that combines magic, mythology, and historical legends with the realities of a world at war.’

Designating the novel as a Young Adult book most assuredly should not deter readers beyond that range of age: this is a solid novel worthy of the attention of a very broad audience. Marie Powell steps onto an even higher rung of the literary ladder. Highly recommended.


~Grady Harp