Jarred, recently come of age, is leaving the sun-scorched desert village that has always been his home. He sets out with a band of friends to see the mighty and beautiful kingdom of the north and to seek out the truth about his father, who came to the village a stranger and departed when Jarred was ten, never to return. After the travellers are set upon in a ravine and several of their number sustain injuries, they seek shelter in the Marsh of Slievmordhu - a cool green world of dazzling beauty as different from their homeland as night and day. Here, Jarred meets Lilith, and in a single moment he realizes that his life can never be the same again. But neither of the young lovers is aware how closely linked their fates - and their past - really are. During a visit to Cathair Rua, the Red City, Jarred stumbles across the secret of the Iron Tree, and with it an unbearable truth about his father's identity...'Dart-Thornton's "Bitterbynde" trilogy - each book and all three together - deserves to win every fantasy award there is' - Tanith Lee. 'Hobbit-fanciers will find much to delight them' - "The Times".
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Cecilia Dart-Thornton graduated from Monash University with an honours degree in Sociology. She began as a teacher and lecturer, then started and ran a business before becoming a full-time writer. Her interests include animal welfare, environmental conservation and digital media. She lives in Australia.From Publishers Weekly:
If Tolkien wrote romance, the result might be something like the first volume of Australian author Dart-Thornton's new fantasy trilogy (after the Bitterbynde trilogy, which began with The Ill-Made Mute). While on a journey to discover more about his mysterious antecedents, Jarred, the book's handsome hero, meets the beauteous Lilith, who's cursed by "a malediction of the bloodline" that dooms one spouse of a pair to an early death while the other is "driven mad by some delusion of being followed." She cares for Jarred too much to wed and hurt him and their offspring. Jarred adds a second familial quest to his first in order to thwart the curse, and the lovers are soon involved in years of convoluted if fairly convincing adventures. Fueled by Celtic folklore, the novel is packed with unusual minor characters, including an eccentric queen obsessed with a single color at a time. The author's poetic pseudo-medieval style, evidently inspired by Keats and Shakespeare, veers from the enchantingly effective to the occasionally irritating. The goblet brimmeth over with elements typical of epic fantasy (sorcerers, monsters, magic jewels, untold treasures, etc.) and of the currently fashionable subgenre of paranormal romance (otherworldly amour, supernatural goings-on, great looks, good hair, etc.); the brew will undoubtedly prove popular. Agent, Martha Millard.
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