cover image Irish Magic II

Irish Magic II

Various, Kensington Publishing. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $22 (340pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-140-7

There's nothing like a good fairy story, old or new. This collection of four novellas, a follow-up to Kensington's previous volume, delivers tales set both in the present and in the ancient past, from four authors well-versed in the realms of Celtic enchantment. In The Changeling, by Susan Wiggs, a lonely Texan farmer arrives in present-day Ireland to dispose of his grandmother's ashes, only to discover that the legends she told him as a child hold powerfully true when he meets Aislinn Finn, who recognizes him as her destiny. The remaining tales evoke earlier times. Well-known creator of Irish chronicles Morgan Llywelyn delivers To Recapture The Light, an enchanting tale about Lasair, a maid of the Tuatha De Danann (the pre-Celtic, magic race of Ireland), and her healing love for a young Irish artist, Comack Casey. Barbara Samuel's Earthly Magic recounts how the young daughter of a Gaelic chieftain challenges the forces of the faerie folk without being fully aware of the dangers involved. Only the wisdom of a lovelorn traveling bard saves her, despite much cost to himself. Roberta Gellis's Bride Price features Queen Medb of Connacht and her daughter Findbhair (both of whom are key figures in the classic Celtic mythological cycle The Tain). When Findbhair is wooed by a warrior of the faerie people, Fraoch, the consequences provoke a series of challenges that involve trickery, deception and magic of the highest order. Irish Magic II is strong on all of these points, with romantic love, sex, power and mystery all playing their parts. (Mar.)