cover image Shadowfell


Juliet Marillier. Knopf, $16.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-375-86954-9

For those who wish that Tolkien had explored the character of Aragorn more deeply, Marillier (the Sevenwaters trilogy) provides the next best thing. Flint, unlike Strider, is younger than he looks, but he’s every bit as skillful. On the day the narrator, 15-year-old Neryn, loses her last connection to family and home, Flint is there to extricate her from disaster and set her on the path of destiny, no longer a victim but an agent in the struggle against a cruel king who has twisted and poisoned his realm. How much of an agent Neryn might be, only Flint and the Good Folk, the fae, seem to guess. Marillier presents a classic quest in the high fantasy tradition, but there are no noble warriors to be found in this first book in a planned trilogy. Neryn’s gifts lie in seeing, listening, and asking, and the turning points are marked by belief, not battles. The land of Alban is not a comfortable place, Flint is not a comforting man, and Neryn is up to the challenges of both. Ages 12–up. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Sept.)