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The House of Gaian (Tir Alainn Series #3) [NOOK Book]

Overview

In the conclusion of the Tir Alainn Trilogy, the uneasy alliance between Fae and humans may not be enough to defeat the Inquisitors-leaving them no choice but to seek out the witches of the House of Gaian. But can they be trusted?
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The House of Gaian (Tir Alainn Series #3)

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Overview

In the conclusion of the Tir Alainn Trilogy, the uneasy alliance between Fae and humans may not be enough to defeat the Inquisitors-leaving them no choice but to seek out the witches of the House of Gaian. But can they be trusted?
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
In The House of Gaian, the third and concluding volume of Anne Bishop's Tir Alainn trilogy (Pillars of the World and Shadows and Light), Adolfo the Master Inquisitor and his legions of masochistic Black Coats seek to complete their mission to exterminate every witch in Sylvalan, destroy the magic in the Old Places, and repress all women of power.

With the eastern barons under his control and a growing army of black-cloaked torturers, Adolfo is headed toward the Mother's Hills -- the wellspring of magic in Sylvalan, as well as home to the reclusive witches of the House of Gaian. As the battle to end all battles looms closer, normal humans and witches are forced to join ranks with the Fae -- the beautiful, powerful, and arrogant race that inhabits the magical realm of Tir Alainn. But the witches are faced with a crisis: If they are to fight the Black Coats, they'll have to break their sacred creed of "Do No Harm." And to make matters worse, the Master Inquisitor has a host of nasty surprises in store, including a new way to create a limitless army of nighthunters, virtually unstoppable soul-eating creatures of darkness.

Reminiscent of Marion Zimmer Bradley's classic The Mists of Avalon, Bishop's Tir Alainn trilogy is built around dozens of strong female characters who must do everything in their power to save their families and culture. Filled with magic, intrigue, romance, and more than a few plot-twisting revelations, this novel is a fitting conclusion to a great trilogy. Paul Goat Allen

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101212530
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/7/2003
  • Series: Tir Alainn Series , #3
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 82,667
  • File size: 727 KB

Meet the Author

Anne Bishop made her first short fiction sale in 1988. Her most recent work has appeared in White Swan, Black Raven and 365 Scary Stories. She lives in upstate New York.
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Read an Excerpt

Aiden studied her for a long moment. “You could stay here with Ari and Neall. You don’t have to go.”

“Of course I do. I’m the Gatherer. I’m Death’s Mistress. My place is on a battlefield.” Morag sighed. “I should have killed the Master Inquisitor when I had the chance. Maybe things would be different now if I had.”

“Maybe,” Aiden agreed. “And maybe if you had, the battle would have come sooner, before we had any chance to meet it.”

“I gave him a chance to leave, and to leave us be. I won’t give him a second chance. I won’t give any of them a second chance.”

Aiden shifted uncomfortably.

None of the Fae—except Ashk—were comfortable with that aspect of her gift, but until last summer, it had been something that had been mentioned in old stories and songs. Unlike the other Fae whose gift made them Death’s Servants, she could gather a spirit from one who was dying, not just from one who was already dead. And she could gather a spirit from someone who was very much among the living. She could ride through a village and leave nothing but corpses in her wake. It was one thing to know that was an aspect of the Gatherer’s power; it was quite another to realize the person who wielded that gift was willing to use it.

And she would use it. Had used it. By the time she’d found the Witch’s Hammer last summer, she had killed all of the Inquisitors he’d brought with him to Sylvalan. She’d hoped that would convince him to leave Sylvalan and never come back, but that had been a foolish, futile hope. So the Gatherer would follow the Hunter into battle, and Death would be her weapon.

Morag brushed her black hair away from her face. Ashk and Neall were coming down the trail, both looking solemn. She turned away and walked to the large outdoor table where Padrick waited—and she wondered if the Gatherer or the Hunter would be Death’s true mistress in the days ahead.

Ashk studied the faces of the people sitting around the table. Padrick had asked to talk to just the Fae at this gathering since he would be meeting with the squires, magistrates, and captains of the guard at another time to plan the human defenses.

Good people, she thought as she studied them. Strong-willed people.

Aiden, the Bard, with his sharp mind and tongue and his passionate desire to protect the witches, the Daughters of the Great Mother. Lyrra, the Muse, whose gift nurtured the poets and storytellers. Morag, whose passion for life made her even more dangerous as Death’s Mistress. Morphia, the Lady of Dreams and Morag’s sister. Sheridan, the Clan’s Lord of the Hawks, who had recently become Morphia’s lover. Neall and Ari, who had changed the lives of many of the Fae around the table simply by being the people they were. And Padrick, Baron of Breton, gentry and Fae, Ashk’s friend, lover, and husband.

Combined with the humans, would they be able to hold on to the things they held dear and to keep them safe?

Padrick unrolled a map of Sylvalan and placed a stone on each corner to hold it down.

“I’ve heard from two of the western barons,” Padrick said. “Despite Baron Liam’s absence for the vote at the barons’ council a few weeks ago—or, perhaps, because of his absence after his impassioned speech—the vote went against all the decrees the eastern barons were trying to get accepted so that they would apply to all of Sylvalan. But there was no vote to demand that the eastern barons restore the rights of the women who live in their counties. Which leaves the people in those eastern counties at the mercy of the men who rule them.”

“That is the human way, is it not?” Aiden asked.

Ashk could hear the effort he was making to keep his voice neutral.

“It is,” Padrick said. “A baron can rule as he pleases and do what he pleases. The decrees provide a standard we’re all expected to honor, but no one is naive enough to believe every man with power wields it in the same way. However, this has left the eastern barons who sold themselves to the Inquisitors twisting in the wind, especially after the news that an entire village of women chose death for themselves and their daughters rather than live with the constrictions that had been put on them. The fact that the news traveled so swiftly and couldn’t be contained has also changed things. Any eastern baron who had considered bringing in the Black Coats won’t do it now, at the risk of having his own people turn against him. Those men can’t be counted as allies, but they aren’t enemies. At least, not yet. That leaves the rest of Sylvalan standing against the eastern barons who are controlled by the Inquisitors.”

“Stalemate,” Aiden said.

Padrick shook his head. “I don’t think so. If the Inquisitors had been willing to let us live as we choose, they never would have crossed the Una River. So I don’t think a vote in the barons’ council is going to stop them; it will just change the way they attack.” He ran his finger down the eastern side of the map, from the north down to the southern coast. “They’ve been pushing steadily east and south, always pushing out from a place where a baron has reshaped his county to match the Inquisitors’ demands. From what I can tell, since their return this spring, they’ve concentrated on destroying the witches to eliminate the magic in the Old Places. Or they did until Liam gave them another enemy to focus on.”

“He wasn’t the only baron the Black Coats focused on,” Ashk said softly.

“No, he wasn’t,” Padrick replied grimly. “That was a mistake on their part. They may know of the Fae, but they don’t know the Fae.”

Ashk met Padrick’s eyes for a long moment, then focused on the map. He was right. If the Black Coats had realized what kind of enemy they would awaken by attacking Breton and Bretonwood, they would have kept their distance.

“You think they’re going to attack the baron you helped?” she asked.

Padrick hesitated. “I think if this Master Inquisitor is as intelligent and powerful as he seems, what he’s going to focus on destroying is this.” His finger landed heavily on the map.

“The Mother’s Hills,” Ashk whispered, feeling a chill go through her.

“As long as the House of Gaian rules the Mother’s Hills, there will be witches. As long as there are witches, there will be vessels to embrace and channel the Great Mother’s power and breathe magic into the world. As long as there is magic in Sylvalan, there will be the Small Folk—and the Fae. So, yes, once he realizes those hills are the wellspring of magic in Sylvalan because of who rules there, he’ll throw everything he can at those witches until he destroys them—or until he and those who follow him are destroyed. And Liam, and the people of Willowsbrook, are standing squarely in his path.”

Neall leaned closer to the map. “Those hills cover a lot of land, and I doubt the eastern barons can gather enough men to form an army big enough to take them.”

“If the Inquisitors control the barons of Wolfram and Arktos, and it seems likely they do, they can gather an army that’s strong enough to be a real threat,” Padrick said.

“If they divide the army and have half swing below the hills to come up on the other side, they’ll be attacking from both directions,” Neall said.

“So we block the way,” Ashk said. “Follow the curve of the hills to the south and north. If the barons who rule the counties there will stand against the Inquisitors with the help of the Clans in those areas, there would be no threat to the midlands or the western side of the hills, so the midland barons could send warriors to defend the gaps.”

“Assuming you can get enough of the Fae to help,” Aiden said with a trace of bitterness.

“If they want to spend time in the world, they can help defend the world,” Ashk said coldly.

An uneasy silence settled around the table until Padrick finally cleared his throat. “There might be another problem with the Fae’s presence in those southern counties. I’ve gathered that their . . . manners . . . haven’t made the humans think well of them. The barons may not accept the Fae being among their people.”

“They’d better accept it if they don’t want to be outnumbered and crushed in a battle,” Ashk snapped. Then she relented. She’d heard enough over the years about how the Fae dealt with humans in other parts of Sylvalan to understand why the humans wouldn’t trust the Fae, even to fight a common enemy. “All right. We’ll head for the southern end of the Mother’s Hills first to convince the barons there to accept us as allies. Letters from you might ease things.”

“You’ll have them.”

They talked for another hour, but it was more to confirm the things she and Padrick had already decided. A meeting of all the western barons would take place in Breton in a few days. Ashk had sent out the call to all the western Clans to have some of the huntsmen from each Clan join her. Now she’d divide those men, sending some to the northern end of the Mother’s Hills and some to the south—and some would go to Willowsbrook. She hoped Baron Liam was as open-minded as Padrick thought. Based on what she knew about the Fae beyond the west, Liam and his people were about to meet something they hadn’t seen before.

The meeting concluded, they’d all risen to stretch their legs and get something to eat when Ashk noticed the woman standing far enough away not to intrude on their discussion, but just as obviously waiting for her attention.

As Ashk walked over to meet her guest, tension tightened her shoulders.

“Blessings of the day to you, Lady Ashk,” the woman said.

“Blessings of the day, Gwynith,” Ashk replied. “Forgive my being blunt, but I’ve a long journey ahead of me and much to do before I go. What brings you here?”

“I’ll be heading for the midlands myself come morning,” Gwynith said. “I came down this way to tell you.”

Ashk frowned. “A Lady of the Moon doesn’t need to tell me her plans to travel.”

“That’s why I had to tell you. All the western Clans have heard the Hunter’s call, and we’ve heard about the Black Coats, so I had to tell you because I don’t know how this might change what you need to do.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Dianna’s power is waning.” Gwynith frowned. “No, not waning, exactly, but there’s a . . . challenger . . . and those of us who share the gift of the moon are being drawn together to find out who will ascend to become the new Lady of the Moon—and the Huntress.”

Ashk said nothing for a moment. She didn’t approve of Dianna or the Huntress’s refusal to do anything to protect the witches and the Old Places, but at least she was a familiar adversary. A new Huntress . . . Gwynith was right. For good or ill, this could change things. “Then I wish you well.”

Gwynith shook her head. “I’m not the one. I feel the call, so I go to bear witness, and to offer my pledge of loyalty to the one who commands my gift. But I wanted you to know, if I have to choose between the Huntress and the Hunter . . . You need only ask, and I’ll do whatever you need.”

Knowing Gwynith could be stripped of her power if she defied whoever became the Lady of the Moon, Ashk said, “Let’s hope you don’t have to make that choice.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 67 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Love this trilogy

    I bought this book.

    There's a lot to this final book in Anne Bishop's Tir Alainn series. Previously the Black Coats crept their way through Arkos and Wolfram, into Sylvania, slaughtering the witches and destroying the pieces of the fairy realm, Tir Alainn, linked to those areas. Their quest to eradicate magic faltered as they moved west and began to encounter Fae and witches who were still strong and tied together, still aware of their linked ancestry. Battle lines were drawn between the Inquisitors and the magic users, with the fate of all women and magic at stake.

    In this book an army of men marches to Willowsbrook, where the Master Inquisitor hopes to teach a lesson to those who resist his will before attacking the Mother's Hills, the secretive wellspring of magic where the House of Gaian still lives. Even the area witches are intimidated by those who live in the hills, and not sure when witches and fae begin to fight back against the Inquisitors, if the wiccanfae from the Hills will crush them all in their effort to destroy the Black Coats.

    Again, there is a slant toward happy endings, and feminism. The women are who must be saved as they are more naturally attuned to the magic of the land. They're also who the Master Inquisitor is out to destroy in a crazy revenge-against-the-mommy-who-didn't-love-him way. Most of the nastiest creatures to creep out of Bishop's mind, like the nighthunters, soul-eating, flesh-devouring creatures made from twisted magic, are blunted by Bishop's storytelling stylings. This keeps the story firmly in fantasy without letting it slip under the influence of horror.

    As always Bishop is a glorious storyteller, and has created a world rich enough to dive into. Readers will find plenty to love in this trilogy, and all without a nihilistic, or savage tone.

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  • Posted December 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The final battle ensues!

    This is a truly wonderful and epic fantasy adventure. Taking the perspective of multiple characters gives the story a breadth of adventure and makes the story all the more interesting. This book also reminds us of the importance of everyone within the world and of respecting our world and appreciating it. Give back what we take and do no harm, those are the mottos promoted in Anne Bishop's three books. This final book is the culmination of all that came before - the great battle between the Black Coats, and the witches, wiccanfae, the Fae and the humans. For the build up of the three books, I felt that the ending lacked the clarity and the punch it really needed. Also, I felt that the book did not wrap up all the characters as well or as interestingly as it could have but the entire first 300 pages keep you dying to know the end, and are a wonderful read. Except for my minor disappointment in the ending, this is an incredible book and a wonderful end to a great trilogy.

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  • Posted November 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Really enjoyed this series!

    I read quite a bit, maybe 5 books a month. So it's a real treat when a book or series grabs me and doesn't let go! Great characters and good development. Go ahead and start with book one - if you like fantasy reads, this series is a winner.

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  • Posted June 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Will there be more books in this series????

    This series has truly captivated me from the first chapter in the first book. It took me a long time to finish this book because I was not ready to leave the beautifully vivid world of Tir Alainn that Anne Bishop has painted for us. The Black Jewels series started out as a triolgy, but yet there were many more books to come. I certainly hope that is the case for this series as well. The series was beautifully written and the characters were perfectly drawn up. Again - can we please have more books in this series, too!!!!

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    Great Series

    This is a wonderful series. I couldn't put them down. Anne Bishop is great!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

    I did not want this book to end. It was so good I hope that another will be added to this trilogy. I can't wait to see what else Anne Bishop will write.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2004

    Head spinning Ending!!

    I have read both trilogies by Ms. Bishop and I have to admit the Black Jewels is still my favorite. The Tir Ailain trilogy is entertaining and the House of Gaian in particular was an exciting read but I feel that Bishop let the story get away from her through the books. There were so many story lines and characters that it seemed to become a mad scramble in the last few chapters of the third novel to tie them up. She wasn't successful with her tying up in all aspects either. Still it is an entertaining read and Bishop's style and imagination will keep your interest through the three volumes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2004

    Wonderfull Book!

    This book was fabulous. The story was awesome and the scenery was great. It was an excelent ending to a very good series. It's a must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2004

    Amazing!!!

    This was by far the best book in this trilogy. I have read all of Anne Bishops books and this was my favorite. Even better then her Black Jewels Trilolgy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2003

    Definately a must read!

    If you are a fantasy fan this book is for you. I recommend reading the first two installments of the trilogy first of course, Pillars of the World and Shadows and Light, but this one is by far the best of the three! I bought the book the day it came out and stayed up late finishing the book...I could not put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2003

    Bishop's Best yet!

    The 3rd & final installment of the Tir Alainn Trilogy is by far the best! This book was worth waiting for, you won't be diappointed. Her fast pace, interesting characters & their storylines hook you completely. This book is a definite page turner. All original characters are back, and Bishop wraps it all up nicely with a surprising twist at the end. Only regret: I finished reading it & I wanted more!! I hope Bishop decides to continue the Tir Alainn Series with another trilogy!!

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