The Witches of Eileanan by Kate Forsyth: Book Review

Attention Scottish Fantasy Fans

I’m not sure how I missed Kate Forsyth before since this is not a new book. Originally published in 1998 as a print book, the audio version was only produced recently in 2019. Book 2 of this series, A Pool of Two Moons, was also released in audio in 2019.

Lovers of Scottish fantasy will recognize the very Scotland-like setting and culture, though this book is set in a land across the universe that the original settlers reached by folding said universe. It is a world where magic once flourished, witches were revered and valued for their contributions to the safety and continued prosperity of the land, and the native fae folk lived more or less peaceably with the human invaders.

Lately though, magic has been outlawed, witches and the fae hunted, tortured and killed, and the ruler compromised. Left to fight for a return to a peaceful world are a handful of scattered witches who escaped the fire, a supposedly-dead and horribly-altered prince, and a pair of red-haired twins, one raised to be a powerful witch, the other as a deadly warrior.

I was immediately captivated by the world and the characters of which there are many. Kate Forsyth has wound an epic tale complete with hidden intrigue that twists through the plot lurking until just the right moment to show itself. The fae creatures are inventive and backed by lore as is the history of the world itself. Rich tradition, complete with historic heroes and villains provide these stories with an illuminated tapestry from which the story springs.

Profanity and violence (especially when compared to other epic fantasies) are held to a minimum. The love story is muted and tastefully written. I enjoyed the narrator with her Scottish accent. The characters speak in this accent throughout, so if you are one who dislikes dialect, I recommend you avoid this series. If, however, you are like me and adore the sound, get it immediately. You won’t be disappointed.

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