Lucy Holland. Redhook, $28 (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-32077-1

Holland (Firestorm) delivers an enchanting queer retelling of the English murder ballad “The Twa Sisters.” King Cador of the kingdom of Dumnonia in ancient Britain has turned his back on magic in favor of Christianity. His lands retaliate by yielding a poor harvest, and without magic, Dumnonia is vulnerable to invasion by the Saxon army. Cador’s children, Riva, Sinne, and Keyne, are the only hope to restore the kingdom’s vigor, but each struggles with their own inner battles: Riva blames herself for her childhood scars, Sinne fancies a fairy-tale love, and Keyne fights against his parents’ preconceptions of his gender and struggles to get them to accept him identifying as a man. The sudden arrival of a mysterious warrior named Tristan upends the lives of all three siblings. Holland seamlessly weaves magic and folklore into the mystery around Tristan’s identity, but as the hints about his true nature increase halfway through the novel, the conclusion becomes disappointingly predictable. Still, Holland’s fast-paced plot and fresh, inventive take on a little-known classic make for a stirring experience. Fans of folkloric fantasy will be spellbound. [em]Agent: Veronique Baxter, David Higham Assoc. (U.K.). (Oct.) [/em]