Child of the Prophecy (Sevenwaters Series #3) by Juliet Marillier, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Child of the Prophecy: Book Three of the Sevenwaters Trilogy

Child of the Prophecy: Book Three of the Sevenwaters Trilogy

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by Juliet Marillier
     
 

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Child of the Prophecy is the thrilling conclusion to Juliet Marillier's award-winning Sevenwaters Trilogy.

Magic is fading... and the ways of Man are driving the Old Ones to the West, beyond the ken of humankind. The ancient groves are being destroyed, and if nothing is done, Ireland will lose its essential mystic core.

The prophecies of long

Overview

Child of the Prophecy is the thrilling conclusion to Juliet Marillier's award-winning Sevenwaters Trilogy.

Magic is fading... and the ways of Man are driving the Old Ones to the West, beyond the ken of humankind. The ancient groves are being destroyed, and if nothing is done, Ireland will lose its essential mystic core.

The prophecies of long ago have foretold a way to prevent this horror, and it is the Sevenwaters clan that the spirits of Eire look to for salvation. They are a family bound into the lifeblood of the land, and their promise to preserve the magic has been the cause of great joy to them... as well as great sorrow.

It is up to Fianne, daughter of Niamh, the lost sister of Sevenwaters, to solve the riddles of power. A shy child of a reclusive sorcerer, she finds that her way is hard: She is the granddaughter of the wicked sorceress Oonagh, who has emerged from the shadows and seeks to destroy all that Sevenwaters has striven for. Oonagh will use Fianne most cruelly to accomplish her ends, and stops at nothing to see her will done.

Will Fianne be strong enough to battle this evil and save those she has come to love?

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Child of the Prophecy, the third and concluding volume of Juliet Marillier's Sevenwaters trilogy, is a historical fantasy set in ninth-century Ireland that chronicles three generations of women who are called to stand up against enormous odds to preserve the old magic of their homeland.

In Marillier's debut novel, Daughter of the Forest, Sorcha -- the only daughter in a family with six sons -- must sacrifice everything to save her brothers from the evil sorceress Oonagh. Son of the Shadows takes place years later, when a prolonged peace has finally come to Sevenwaters. But when Sorcha's daughter Liadan fatefully meets Bran, the enigmatic leader of a band of mercenary warriors, she must choose between her own happiness and the safety of her family -- and her heritage.

Child of the Prophecy focuses on Fianne, Liadan's shy niece, who has grown up far away from Sevenwaters. Raised by her reclusive sorcerer father, Fianne lives an idyllic life -- that is, until her grandmother Oonagh arrives and informs her of her supposed role in a prophecy that has yet to be fulfilled. Marillier's Sevenwaters saga has it all -- folklore, mystery, romance, intrigue -- and is reminiscent of Marion Zimmer Bradley's classic retelling of the Arthurian legend, The Mists of Avalon. This trilogy is highly recommended, especially for young female readers who enjoy historical fantasy because of the courageous women protagonists who must draw upon their inner strength to protect themselves and their families. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
In the final book in her Sevenwaters Trilogy, Australian Marillier gathers the threads from the first two (Daughter of the Forest and Son of the Shadows) and weaves them together into a rich tapestry of love and loss, family loyalty and personal sacrifice. The saga of the guardians of the forest at Sevenwaters takes up the story of Fainne, daughter of the former Druid Ciaran and the lost Niamh. Raised in the ways of magic, Fainne plans to become a solitary sorcerer like her father, but fate intervenes in the form of her grandmother, Oonagh, a sorceress with a penchant for cruelty and a desire to put an end to everything the Sevenwaters folks stand for. A prophecy tells of a way to preserve the old magic, and Lady Oonagh is willing to trick her granddaughter and torture her own son to break it. Though Fainne is forced to bow to her grandmother's will, the love of her family and her own strong ethics help her remember her true nature, as she learns about herself, her powers of sorcery and the part she plays in a prophecy that has tested three generations of women. Though the romance elements that dominated The Son of the Shadows occasionally appear, this book centers on personal growth and filial duty; it can be enjoyed as a read-alone book, but is better understood with the preceding titles. Marillier's strong voice and rolling, lucid prose seem appropriate for a 10th-century Irish tale, and her command of a fantasy story's elements make this an excellent conclusion to a fine trilogy. (Mar. 27) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
Marillier's Sevenwaters Trilogy concludes in this captivating finale to her richly imagined fantasy saga set in ancient Ireland. Sevenwaters, now held by Sean, is part of an alliance formed to wrest control of the Islands from Briton's Edwin of Northwoods. Sean's sister, Liadan, and her British husband, Bran, are parents to Johnny, believed to be the child of prophecy who will regain the Islands for the Fair Folk, ancient Celtic spirits essential to Ireland's well-being. Preparations for a final battle are underway. Many miles from Sevenwaters, on the desolate Kerry coast, Ciaran raises his daughter Fainne, whose only companion is Darragh, an itinerant tinker's son. Ciaran, son of a sorceress, was raised by Druids. Fainne has links to the supernatural and is adept at magic. When Fainne turns fifteen, her paternal grandmother Oonagh arrives with an edict: Destroy the alliance, damage those at Sevenwaters, and kill Johnny. Fainne knows that she is connected by blood to Sevenwaters but becomes ensnared in her malevolent grandmother's thirst for revenge. Family secrets, precious lives, and the fate of Ireland's very soul all hang in the balance as Fainne must choose between good and evil. Plot twists, action, romance, and magic make this entrancing fantasy novel certain to please high school students and adults. This novel can stand alone, but reading Daughter of the Forest (Tor, 2000/VOYA December 2000) and Son of the Shadows (2001, VOYA December 2001) would amplify the reader's pleasure. An incomparable fantasy tale, the Sevenwaters Trilogy should appeal to Lord of the Rings fans. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High,defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2002, Tor, 528p,
— Rachelle Bilz
Library Journal
As the daughter of Niamh of the Sevenwaters Clan, Fainne possesses a magic born of the land itself. Instructed by her grandmother, the sorceress Oonagh, Fainne believes she has a destiny to bring about a terrible change in the world. This conclusion to Marillier's historical fantasy, set in an Ireland known only through legends, features a young woman poised between prophecies, destined to decide the fate of her people and the magic entrusted to them. The author captures the feel of myth in this Celtic-laced saga that belongs in most fantasy collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429913522
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
04/01/2007
Series:
Sevenwaters Series , #3
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
36,622
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Child of the Prophecy

Book Three of the Sevenwaters Trilogy


By Juliet Marillier, Claire Eddy

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2002 Juliet Marillier
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-1352-2


CHAPTER 1

Every summer they came. By earth and sky, by sun and stone I counted the days. I'd climb up to the circle and sit there quiet with my back to the warmth of the rock I called Sentinel, and see the rabbits come out in the fading light to nibble at what sparse pickings might be found on the barren hillside. The sun sank in the west, a ball of orange fire diving beyond the hills into the unseen depths of the ocean. Its dying light caught the shapes of the dolmens and stretched their strange shadows out across the stony ground before me. I'd been here every summer since first I saw the travelers come, and I'd learned to read the signs. Each day the setting sun threw the dark pointed shapes a little further across the hilltop to the north. When the biggest shadow came right to my toes, here where I sat in the very center of the circle, it was time. Tomorrow I could go and watch by the track, for they'd be here.

There was a pattern to it. There were patterns to everything, if you knew how to look. My father taught me that. The real skill lay in staying outside them, in not letting yourself be caught up in them. It was a mistake to think you belonged. Such as we were could never belong. That, too, I learned from him.

I'd wait there by the track, behind a juniper bush, still as a child made of stone. There'd be a sound of hooves, and the creak of wheels turning. Then I'd see one or two of the lads on ponies, riding up ahead, keeping an eye out for any trouble. By the time they came up the hill and passed by me where I hid, they'd relaxed their guard and were joking and laughing, for they were close to camp and a summer of good fishing and relative ease, a time for mending things and making things. The season they spent here at the bay was the closest they ever came to settling down.

Then there'd be a cart or two, the old men and women sitting up on top, the smaller children perched on the load or running alongside. Danny Walker would be driving one pair of horses, his wife Peg the other. The rest of the folk would walk behind, their scarves and shawls and neckerchiefs bright splashes of color in the dun and gray of the landscape, for it was barren enough up here, even in the warmth of early summer. I'd watch and wait unseen, never stirring. And last, there was the string of ponies, and the younger lads leading them or riding alongside. That was the best moment of the summer: the first glimpse I got of Darragh, sitting small and proud on his sturdy gray. He'd be pale after the winter up north, and frowning as he watched his charges, always alert lest one of them should make a bolt for freedom. They'd a mind to go their own way, these hill ponies, until they were properly broken. This string would be trained over the warmer season, and sold when the traveling folk went north again.

Not by so much as a twitch of a finger or a blink of an eyelid would I let on I was there. But Darragh would know. His brown eyes would look sideways, twinkling, and he'd flash a grin that nobody saw, nobody but me where I hid by the track. Then the travelers would pass on and be gone down to the cove and their summer encampment, and I'd be away home, scuttling across the hill and down over the neck of land to the Honeycomb, which was where we lived, my father and I.

Father didn't much like me to go out. But he did not lay down any restrictions. It was more effective, he said, for me to set my own rules. The craft was a hard taskmaster. I would discover soon enough that it left no time for friends, no time for play, no time for swimming or fishing or jumping off the rocks as the other children did. There was much to learn. And when Father was too busy to teach me, I must spend my time practicing my skills. The only rules were the unspoken ones. Besides, I couldn't wander far, not with my foot the way it was.

I understood that for our kind the craft was all that really mattered. But Darragh made his way into my life uninvited, and once he was there he became my summer companion and my best friend; my only friend, to tell the truth. I was frightened of the other children and could hardly imagine joining in their boisterous games. They in their turn avoided me. Maybe it was fear, and maybe it was something else. I knew I was cleverer than they were. I knew I could do what I liked to them, if I chose to. And yet, when I looked at my reflection in the water, and thought of the boys and girls I'd seen running along the sand shouting to one another, and fishing from the rocks, and mending nets alongside their fathers and mothers, I wished with all my heart that I was one of them, and not myself. I wished I was one of the traveler girls, with a red scarf and a shawl with a long fringe to it, so I could perch up high on the cart and ride away in autumn time to the far distant lands of the north.

We had a place, a secret place, halfway down the hill behind big boulders and looking out to the southwest. Below us the steep, rocky promontory of the Honeycomb jutted into the sea. Inside it was a complex network of caves and chambers and concealed ways, a suitable home for a man such as my father. Behind us the slope stretched up and up to the flattened top of the hill, where the stone circle stood, and then down again to the cart track. Beyond that was the land of Kerry, and farther still were places whose names I did not know. But Darragh knew, and Darragh told me as he stacked driftwood neatly for a fire, and hunted for flint and tinder while I got out a little jar of dried herbs for tea. He told me of lakes and forests, of wild crags and gentle misty valleys. He described how the Norsemen, whose raids on our coast were so feared, had settled here and there and married Irish women, and bred children who were neither one thing nor the other. With a gleam of excitement in his brown eyes, he spoke of the great horse fair up north. He got so caught up in this, his thin hands gesturing, his voice bright with enthusiasm, that he forgot he was supposed to be lighting the little fire. So I did it myself, pointing at the sticks with my first finger, summoning the flame. The driftwood burst instantly alight, and our small pan of water began to heat. Darragh fell silent.

"Go on," I said. "Did the old man buy the pony or not?"

But Darragh was frowning at me, his dark brows drawn together in disapproval. "You shouldn't do that," he said.

"What?"

"Light the fire like that. Using sorcerer's tricks. Not when you don't need to. What's wrong with flint and tinder? I would have done it."

"Why bother? My way's quicker." I was casting a handful of the dry leaves into the pot to brew. The smell of the herbs arose freshly in the cool air of the hillside.

"You shouldn't do it. Not when there's no need." He was unable to explain any further, but his flood of words had dried up abruptly, and we brewed our tea and sat there drinking it together in silence as the seabirds wheeled and screamed overhead.

The summers were full of such days. When he wasn't needed to work with the horses or help around the camp, Darragh would come to find me, and we explored the rocky hillsides, the clifftop paths, the hidden bays and secret caves together. He taught me to fish with a single line and a steady hand. I taught him how to read what day it was from the way the shadows moved up on the hilltop. When it rained, as it had a way of doing even in summer, we'd sit together in the shelter of a little cave, down at the bottom of the land bridge that joined the Honeycomb to the shore, a place that was almost underground but not quite, for the daylight filtered through from above and washed the tiny patch of fine sand to a delicate shade of gray-blue. In this place I always felt safe. In this place sky and earth and sea met and touched and parted again, and the sound of the wavelets lapping the subterranean beach was like a sigh, at once greeting and farewell. Darragh never told me if he liked my secret cave or not. He'd simply come down with me, and sit by me, and when the rain was over, he'd slip away with never a word.

There was a wild grass that grew on the hillside there, a strong, supple plant with a silky sheen to its pale green stems. We called it rat-tails, though it probably had some other name. Peg and her daughters were expert basketweavers, and made use of this grass for their finer and prettier efforts, the sort that might be sold to a lady for gathering flowers maybe, rather than used for carrying vegetables or a heavy load of firewood. Darragh, too, could weave, his long fingers fast and nimble. One summer we were up by the standing stones, late in the afternoon, sitting with our backs to the Sentinel and looking out over the bay and the far promontory, and beyond to the western sea. Clouds were gathering, and the air had a touch of chill to it. Today I could not read the shadows, but I knew it was drawing close to summer's end, and another parting. I was sad, and cross with myself for being sad, and I was trying not to think about another winter of hard work and cold, lonely days. I stared at the stony ground and thought about the year, and how it turned around like a serpent biting its own tail; how it rolled on like a relentless wheel. The good times would come again, and after them the bad times.

Darragh had a fistful of rat-tails, and he was twisting them deftly and whistling under his breath. Darragh was never sad. He'd no time for it; for him, life was an adventure, with always a new door to open. Besides, he could go away if he wanted to. He didn't have lessons to learn and skills to perfect, as I did.

I glared at the pebbles on the ground. Round and round, that was my existence, endlessly repeating, a cycle from which there was no escape. Round and round. Fixed and unchangeable. I watched the pebbles as they shuddered and rolled; as they moved obediently on the ground before me.

"Fainne?" Darragh was frowning at me, and at the shifting stones on the earth in front of me.

"What?" My concentration was broken. The stones stopped moving. Now they lay in a perfect circle.

"Here," he said. "Hold out your hand."

I did as he bid me, puzzled, and he slipped a little ring of woven rat-tails on my finger, so cunningly made that it seemed without any joint or fastening.

"What's this for?" I asked him, turning the silky, springy circle of grass around and around. He was looking away over the bay again, watching the small curraghs come in from fishing.

"So you don't forget me," he said, offhand.

"Don't be silly," I said. "Why would I forget you?"

"You might," said Darragh, turning back toward me. He gestured toward the neat circle of tiny stones. "You might get caught up in other things."

I was hurt. "I wouldn't. I never would."

Darragh gave a sigh and shrugged his shoulders. "You're only little. You don't know. Winter's a long time, Fainne. And-and you need keeping an eye on."

"I do not!" I retorted instantly, jumping up from where I sat. Who did he think he was, talking as if he was my big brother? "I can look after myself quite well, thank you. And now I'm going home."

"I'll walk with you."

"You don't have to."

"I'll walk with you. Better still, I'll race you. Just as far as the junipers down there. Come on."

I stood stolid, scowling at him.

"I'll give you a head start," coaxed Darragh. "I'll count to ten."

I made no move.

"Twenty, then. Go on, off you go." He smiled, a broad, irresistible smile.

I ran, if you could call my awkward, limping gait a run. With my skirt caught up in one hand I made reasonable speed, though the steep pebbly surface required some caution. I was only halfway to the junipers when I heard his soft, quick footsteps right behind me. No race could have been less equal, and both of us knew it. He could have covered the ground in a quarter of the time it took me. But somehow, the way it worked out, the two of us reached the bushes at exactly the same moment.

"All right, sorcerer's daughter," said Darragh, grinning. "Now we walk and catch our breath. It'll be a better day tomorrow."


How old was I then? Six, maybe, and he a year or two older? I had the little ring on my finger the day the traveling folk packed up and moved out again; the day I had to wave goodbye and start waiting. It was all right for him. He had places to go and things to do, and he was eager to get on his pony and be off. Still, he made time to say farewell, up on the hillside above the camp, for he knew I would not come near where the folk gathered to load their carts and make ready for the journey. I was numb with shyness, quite unable to bear the stares of the boys and girls or to form an answer to Peg's shrewd, kindly questions. My father was down there, a tall, cloaked figure talking to Danny Walker, giving him messages to deliver, commissions to fulfill. Around them, the folk left a wide, empty circle.

"Well, then," said Darragh.

"Well, then," I echoed, trying for the same tone of nonchalance and failing miserably.

"Goodbye, Curly," he said, reaching out to tug gently at a lock of my long hair, which was the same deep russet as my father's. "I'll see you next summer. Keep out of trouble, now, until I come back." Every time he went away he said this; always just the same. As for me, I had no words at all.


The days grew shorter and the dark time of the year began. With Darragh gone there was no real reason to linger out of doors, and so I applied myself to my work and tried not to notice how cold it was inside the Honeycomb, colder, almost, than the chill of an autumn wind up on the hilltop. It was an aching feeling that lodged deep in your bones and lingered there like a burden. I never complained. Father had shown me how to deal with it and he expected me to do so. It was not that a sorcerer did not feel the heat of the fire or the bite of the north wind. A sorcerer was, after all, a man and not some Otherworld creature. What you had to do was teach your body to cope with it, so that discomfort did not make you slow or inefficient. It had to do with breathing, mostly. More I cannot say. My father was once a druid. He said he had put all that behind him when he left the brotherhood. But a man does not so easily discard all those years of training and discipline. I understood that much of what I learned was secret, to be shared only with others of our kind. One did not lay it bare before the ignorant, or those whose minds were closed. Even now there are some matters of which I cannot and will not tell.

There were many chambers in the Honeycomb. We lit lamps year round, and in my father's great workroom many candles burned, for there he stored his scrolls and books, grotesque and wondrous objects in jars, and little sacks of pungent-smelling powders. There was a dried basilisk, and a cup made from a twisted, curling horn, its base set with red stones. There was a tiny skull like a leprechaun's, with empty eyes. There was a thick grimoire whose leather cover was darkened with age and long handling. In this room my father spent days and nights in solitude, perfecting his craft, learning, always learning.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier, Claire Eddy. Copyright © 2002 Juliet Marillier. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Juliet Marillier was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, a town with strong Scottish roots. She currently lives in a rural area of Western Australia, sharing her house with a cat and a dog. A university graduate in music and languages, she has had a varied career that includes working for government agencies, opera singing, and raising four children. Juliet now writes full time. Her lifelong interest in myth, legend, folklore and traditional music is a strong influence on both style and theme in her writing. A passion for early British history, reflecting her Celtic ancestry, is evident in her choice of settings.

Juliet Marillier achieved international recognition in 1999 with the publication of her award-winning novel Daughter of the Forest. This is the first book of the Sevenwaters Trilogy, a historical fantasy set in Ireland and Britain in the ninth century, and is loosely based on the traditional fairy tale, The Six Swans. The second book in the series, Son of the Shadows, won the 2000 Aurealis Award for best fantasy novel. Child of the Prophecy completes this trilogy.

Juliet Marillier's second series is based on the first Viking voyage from Norway to Orkney, and weaves history and folklore into a saga of adventure, romance and magic. The series is made up of two novels, Wolfskin and Foxmask. Juliet is currently working on a new trilogy set in the north of Britain in the time of the Picts.

Juliet is a member of the druid order OBOD and of the Australian Greens Party, reflecting her commitment to environmental causes.


Juliet Marillier was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, a town with strong Scottish roots. She currently lives in a rural area of Western Australia, sharing her house with a cat and a dog. A university graduate in music and languages, she has had a varied career that includes working for government agencies, opera singing, and raising four children. Juliet now writes full time. Her lifelong interest in myth, legend, folklore and traditional music is a strong influence on both style and theme in her writing. A passion for early British history, reflecting her Celtic ancestry, is evident in her choice of settings.

Juliet Marillier achieved international recognition in 1999 with the publication of her award-winning novel Daughter of the Forest. This is the first book of the Sevenwaters Trilogy, a historical fantasy set in Ireland and Britain in the ninth century, and is loosely based on the traditional fairy tale, The Six Swans. The second book in the series, Son of the Shadows, won the 2000 Aurealis Award for best fantasy novel.
Juliet Marillier's second series is based on the first Viking voyage from Norway to Orkney, and weaves history and folklore into a saga of adventure, romance and magic. The series is made up of two novels, Wolfskin and Foxmask.
Juliet is a member of the druid order OBOD and of the Australian Greens Party, reflecting her commitment to environmental causes.

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