Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters Series #2)

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Son of the Shadows continues the saga of beautiful Sorcha, the courageous young woman who risked all to save her family from wicked curse and whose love shattered generations of hate and bridged two cultures.

It is from her sacrifice that her brothers were brought home to Sevenwaters. But not all the brothers were able to escape the spell that transformed them into swans, and those who did were all more—and less—that they were before the change. It is left to Sorcha's daughter ...

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Son of the Shadows continues the saga of beautiful Sorcha, the courageous young woman who risked all to save her family from wicked curse and whose love shattered generations of hate and bridged two cultures.

It is from her sacrifice that her brothers were brought home to Sevenwaters. But not all the brothers were able to escape the spell that transformed them into swans, and those who did were all more—and less—that they were before the change. It is left to Sorcha's daughter Liadan to take up the tale that the Sevenwaters clan is destined to fulfill. Beloved child, dutiful daughter, Liadan embarks on a journey that opens her eyes to the wonders of the world around her...and shows her just how hard-won was the peace that she has known all her life.

She will need all of her courage to help her family, for there are forces far darker than anyone could have guessed and ancient powers conspiring to destroy this family's peace—and their world. And she will need the strength to stand up to those she loves best...for in the finding of her own true love, Liadan may doom them all...or be their salvation.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
You are really missing out if you haven't yet read Juliet Marillier. This Australian writer is a true bard. Her powerfully emotional stories and knowledge of Celtic traditional culture make her novels an absolute joy to read.

Marillier has shown a trend of using strong yet vulnerable female heroines in her Sevenwaters trilogy. In Daughter of the Forest, the first book in the series, Sorcha loyally toiled to free her brothers from a curse. Now, 18 years later, her family is again visited by misfortune as invaders threaten the Irish lands. Sorcha and her displaced British husband have three children -- Niamh and the twins, Sean and Liadan. Niamh, the eldest, is married off to seal an important alliance. Sean is the heir of Sevenwaters, through his childless uncle Liam. But it is Liadan, the youngest, who inherits her mother's mastery of the healing arts, the gift of sight, and the ability to mindspeak. Liadan is the one who makes contact with the Otherworld and who may just be the key to fulfilling a prophecy that claims a child of both Britain and Ireland will liberate the sacred islands from the British.

After she is abducted by mercenaries, Liadan becomes inextricably entwined in the life of their ruthless leader, the Painted Man. Trying to remain loyal to both the Painted Man as well as to her kin, she risks endangering both and incurring great sacrifice on her part. At once a fairy tale, a love story, and a high adventure set in historical times, this novel is magical, moving, full of intrigue, and action packed. Marillier really has set the perfect atmosphere for this absorbing book. Her characters are so flawed, so human, that the betrayals and loyalties can come from surprising sources, but have reason behind them. Don't miss this series. (Sierra Phillips)

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Druidic Erin (Ireland) is a place teeming with fairies and earth magic. But this compelling story is not a tale of the fey it is a tale of one who lives in the world of humans and yet has contact with the otherworld. Liadan of Sevenwaters is the child of Iubdan and Sorcha (whose story was told in Daughter of the Forest) and she is granted the power to hear and see what others cannot. She is a healer of mind, body and spirit. It is Liadan's gift of healing that brings about a meeting with a mercenary considered to be the enemy of her family. Liadan names this man without a name or history "Bran" and soon realizes that the information she has been told about him (and the world in general) is not what it appears to be. In too short a time, Liadan comes to love Bran with a fierceness that she never imagined possible, and yet their love cannot be fulfilled. Bran's life is not her life, nor is her life his. They must travel down different paths (at least for a while), knowing in their hearts that the bond between them is stronger than the things that pull them apart. This is the story of a powerful love, which might change the course of history for Liadan's people and the island of Erin. Beautifully written, the second in the Sevenwaters trilogy continues a sparkling saga of a family whose destiny is to help free Erin from British tyranny. The story, though a bit light on the magic and heavy on the romantic, is reminiscent of Jennifer Roberson's Chesuli series. Fantasy addicts should love it. (May 25) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In this sequel to Daughter of the Forest (Tor, 2000/VOYA December 2000), Marillier's splendid prose envelops the reader again in a fully imagined world peopled with believable characters. In ancient Ireland, Sorcha and Red Hugh live at Sevenwaters with their eldest daughter, Niamh, son Sean, and his twin sister, Liadan, who narrates the tale. Niamh is a flirtatious beauty, Sean is being groomed for his role as lord of the manor by his Uncle Liam, and Liadan follows in Sorcha's footsteps as a healer and seer. Alliances are vitally important and strategic marriages serve to strengthen Sevenwaters as Ireland continues to be attacked by British and other invaders. Treachery and heartbreak ensue when Niamh's illicit romance with the druid Ciaran is discovered. Her subsequent forced marriage to the evil Fionn has many unforeseen consequences. Liadan plans to remain single and care for her ailing mother, but her plans change drastically when she is kidnapped by Bran and his band of mercenaries. Liadan beautifully describes what it feels like for a young woman to fall in love for the first time as she and Bran develop a relationship. When she returns home pregnant, it is believed that her child will be the one prophesied to unite Ireland and Britain. Replete with action and plot surprises, romance, druids and magic, and Celtic mythology, this second book in the Sevenwaters Trilogy is a rich, satisfying read for high school students and adults. Although reading the first book would enhance one's enjoyment, this novel can stand alone. 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).2001, Tor, 462p, $25.95. Ages 15 to Adult. Reviewer:Rachelle Bilz—VOYA, December 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 5)
Once they have caught the attention of the Fair Folk, the lives of the Sevenwaters clan will never be easy. First Sorcha's brothers were turned into swans by an evil stepmother, and Sorcha had to sacrifice all she loved to reverse the spell. Now Sorcha's daughter Liadan is caught up in the machinations of the Fey. Terrified by stories of the strange clan of mercenaries terrorizing the area, Liadan is kidnapped by them and learns of their particular brand of honor and loyalty—and of family secrets that threaten to doom her loved ones and the land they guard and cherish. Surrounded by treachery on all sides, Liadan must use her skills of healing and magic to save her land, her family and the man she once feared and has come to love. This second book in the Sevenwaters series is as good as the first (Daughter of the Forest, reviewed in KLIATT July 2002), with characters one cares deeply about and enough action and magic to keep the pages turning. Essential for libraries owning the first book, and a good choice for all fantasy collections. (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Bk. 2) Category: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Tor, 590p., , Middletown, OH
Library Journal
In this work's prequel, Daughter of the Forest, Sorcha saved her brothers from a curse that turned them into swans. Now, it is her daughter Liadan's turn to leave her home in peaceful Sevenwaters in search of her destiny. A world of druids and shapechangers, Fair Folk and foul monsters draws Liadan deeper into danger as she battles to save her family and her home. Marillier blends old legends with original storytelling to produce an epic fantasy that belongs in most libraries. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Ever wondered what happens next in your favorite fairy tale? Juliet Marillier provides a beautifully wrought answer. . . . The exquisite poetry of the story is carefully balanced with strong characterizations and more than a nod to Irish mythology."-Romantic Times

"A fine new fantasy writer."-Anne McCaffrey

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765343260
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 6/17/2002
  • Series: Sevenwaters Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 138,506
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.13 (h) x 1.70 (d)

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.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

My mother knew every tale that was ever told by the firesides ofErin, and more besides. Folks stood hushed around the hearthto hear her tell them after a long day's work, and marveled atthe bright tapestries she wove with her words. She related the many adventuresof Cú Chulainn the hero, and she told of Fionn mac Cumhaill, whowas a great warrior and cunning with it. In some households, such tales werereserved for men alone. But not in ours, for my mother made a magic withher words that drew all under its spell. She told tales that had the householdin stitches with laughter, and tales that made strong men grow quiet. Butthere was one tale she would never tell, and that was her own. My motherwas the girl who had saved her brothers from a sorceress's curse, and nearlylost her own life doing it. She was the girl whose six brothers had spent threelong years as creatures of the wild, and had been brought back only by herown silence and suffering. There was no need for telling and retelling of thisstory, for it had found a place in folks' minds. Besides, in every village therewould be one or two who had seen the brother who returned, briefly, withthe shining wing of a swan in place of his left arm. Even without this evidence,all knew the tale for truth; and they watched my mother pass, a slightfigure with her basket of salves and potions, and nodded with deep respectin their eyes.

    If I asked my father to tell a tale, he would laugh and shrug and say hehad no skill with words, and besides he knew but one tale, or maybe two,and he had told them both already. Then he would glance at my mother, andshe at him, inthat way they had that was like talking without words, andthen my father would distract me with something else. He taught me tocarve with a little knife, and he taught me how to plant trees, and he taughtme to fight. My uncle thought that more than a little odd. All right for mybrother, Sean, but when would Niamh and I need skills with our fists andour feet, with a staff or a small dagger? Why waste time on this when therewere so many other things for us to learn?

    "No daughter of mine will go beyond these woods unprotected," myfather had said to my Uncle Liam. "Men cannot be trusted. I would not makewarriors of my girls, but I will at least give them the means to defend themselves.I am surprised that you need ask why. Is your memory so short?"

    I did not ask him what he meant. We had all discovered, early on, that itwas unwise to get between him and Liam at such times.

    I learned fast. I followed my mother around the villages, and was taughthow to stitch a wound and fashion a splint and doctor the croup or nettlerash. I watched my father, and discovered how to make an owl and a deerand a hedgehog out of a piece of fine oak. I practiced the arts of combatwith Sean, when he could be cajoled into it, and perfected a variety of tricksthat worked even when your opponent was bigger and stronger. It oftenseemed as if everyone at Sevenwaters was bigger than me. My father mademe a staff that was just the right size, and he gave me his little dagger for myown. Sean was quite put out for a day or so. But he never harbored grudges.Besides, he was a boy, and had his own weapons. As for my sister, Niamh,you never could tell what she was thinking.

    "Remember, little one," my father told me gravely, "this dagger can kill.I hope you need never employ it for such a purpose; but if you must, use itcleanly and boldly. Here at Sevenwaters you have seen little of evil, and Ihope you will never have to strike a man in your own defense. But one dayyou may have need of this, and you must keep it sharp and bright, and practiceyour skills against such a day."

    It seemed to me a shadow came over his face, and his eyes went distantas they did sometimes. I nodded silently and slipped the small, deadlyweapon away in its sheath.

    These things I learned from my father, whom folk called Iubdan,though his real name was different. If you knew the old tales, you recognizedthis name as a joke, which he accepted with good humor. For the Iubdanof the tales was a tiny wee man, who got into strife when he fell into abowl of porridge, though he got his own back later. My father was very talland strongly built, and had hair the color of autumn leaves in afternoon sun.He was a Briton, but people forgot that. When he got his new name hebecame part of Sevenwaters, and those who didn't use his name called himthe Big Man.

    I'd have liked a bit more height myself, but I was little, skinny, darkhaired, the sort of girl a man wouldn't look twice at. Not that I cared. I hadplenty to occupy me without thinking that far ahead. It was Niamh they followedwith their eyes, for she was tall and broad shouldered, made in ourfather's image, and she had a long fall of bright hair and a body that curvedgenerously in all the right places. Without even knowing it, she walked in away that drew men's eyes.

    "That one's trouble," our kitchen woman Janis would mutter over herpots and pans. As for Niamh herself, she was ever critical.

    "Isn't it bad enough being half Briton," she said crossly, "without havingto look the part as well? See this?" She tugged at her thick plait, and thered-gold strands unraveled in a shining curtain. "Who would take me for adaughter of Sevenwaters? I could be a Saxon with this head of hair! Whycouldn't I be tiny and graceful like Mother?"

    I studied her for a moment or two as she began to wield the hairbrushwith fierce strokes. For one so displeased with her appearance, she did spendrather a lot of time trying out new hairstyles and changing her gown andribbons.

    "Are you ashamed to be the daughter of a Briton?" I asked her.

    She glared at me. "That's so like you, Liadan. Always come straight outwith it, don't you? It's all very well for you; you're a small copy of Motheryourself, her little right hand. No wonder Father adores you. For you it'ssimple."

    I let her words wash over me. She could be like this at times, as if therewere too many feelings inside her and they had to burst out somewhere. Thewords themselves meant nothing. I waited.

    Niamh used her hairbrush like an instrument of punishment. "Sean,too," she said, glaring at herself in the mirror of polished bronze. "Did youhear what Father called him? He said, he's the son Liam never had. What doyou think of that? Sean fits in; he knows exactly where he's going. Heir toSevenwaters, beloved son with not one but two fathers—he even looks thepart. He'll do all the right things—wed Aisling, which will make everyonehappy, be a leader of men, maybe even the one who wins the Islands backfor us. His children will follow in his footsteps, and so on, and so on.Brighid save me, it's so tedious! It's so predictable."

    "You can't have it both ways," I said. "Either you want to fit in, or youdon't. Besides, we are the daughters of Sevenwaters, like it or not. I'm sureEamonn will wed you gladly when it's time, golden hair or no. I've heard noobjections from him."

    "Eamonn? Huh!" She moved to the center of the room, where a shaft oflight struck gold against the oak boards of the floor, and in this spot shebegan slowly to turn, so that her white gown and her brilliant shining hairmoved around her like a cloud. "Don't you long for something different tohappen, something so exciting and new it carries you along with it like agreat tide, something that lets your life blaze and burn so the whole worldcan see it? Something that touches you with joy or with terror, that lifts youout of your safe, little path and onto a great, wild road whose endingnobody knows? Don't you ever long for that, Liadan?" She turned andturned, and she wrapped her arms around herself as if this were the only wayshe could contain what she felt.

    I sat on the edge of the bed, watching her quietly. After a while I said,"You should take care. Such words might tempt the Fair Folk to take a handin your life. It happens. You know Mother's story. She was given such achance, and she took it; and it was only through her courage, and Father's,that she did not die. To survive their games you must be very strong. For herand for Father the ending was good. But that tale had losers as well. Whatabout her six brothers? Of them, but two remain, or maybe three. Whathappened damaged them all. And there were others who perished. Youwould be better to take your life one day at a time. For me, there is enoughexcitement in helping to deliver a new lamb, or seeing small oaks growstrong in spring rains. In shooting an arrow straight to the mark, or curing achild of the croup. Why ask for more when what we have is so good?"

    Niamh unwrapped her arms and ran a hand through her hair, undoingthe work of the brush in an instant. She sighed. "You sound so like Fatheryou make me sick sometimes," she said, but the tone was affectionateenough. I knew my sister well. I did not let her upset me often.

    "I've never understood how he could do it," she went on. "Give upeverything, just like that: his lands, his power, his position, his family. Justgive it away. He'll never be master of Sevenwaters, that's Liam's place. Hisson will inherit, no doubt; but Iubdan, all he'll be is `the Big Man', quietlygrowing his trees and tending his flocks, and letting the world pass him by.How could a real man choose to let life go like that? He never even wentback to Harrowfield."

    I smiled to myself. Was she blind that she did not see the way it wasbetween them, Sorcha and Iubdan? How could she live here day by day, andsee them look at one another, and not understand why he had done what hehad done? Besides, without his good husbandry, Sevenwaters would benothing more than a well-guarded fortress. Under his guidance our landshad prospered. Everyone knew we bred the best cattle and grew the finestbarley in all of Ulster. It was my father's work that enabled my Uncle Liamto build his alliances and conduct his campaigns. I didn't think there wasmuch point explaining this to my sister. If she didn't know it by now, shenever would.

    "He loves her," I said. "It's as simple as that. And yet, it's more. Shedoesn't talk about it, but the Fair Folk had a hand in it all along. And theywill again."

    Finally Niamh was paying attention to me. Her beautiful blue eyes narrowedas she faced mc. "Now you sound like her," she said accusingly."About to tell me a story, a learning tale."

    "I'm not," I said. "You aren't in the mood for it. I was just going to say,we are different, you and me and Sean. Because of what the Fair Folk did,our parents met and wed. Because of what happened, the three of us cameinto being. Perhaps the next part of the tale is ours."

    Niamh shivered as she sat down beside me, smoothing her skirts over herknees.

    "Because we are neither of Britain nor of Erin, but at the same timeboth," she said slowly. "You think one of us is the child of the prophecy? Theone who will restore the Islands to our people?"

    "I've heard it said." It was said a lot, in fact, now that Sean was almost aman, and shaping into as good a fighter and a leader as his Uncle Liam.Besides, the people were ready for some action. The feud over the Islandshad simmered since well before my mother's day, for it was long years sincethe Britons had seized this most secret of places from our people. Folk's bitternesswas all the more intense now, since we had come so close to regainingwhat was rightfully ours. For when Sean and I were children, not sixyears old, our Uncle Liam and two of his brothers, aided by Seamus Redbeard,had thrown their forces into a hold campaign that went right to theheart of the disputed territory. They had come close, achingly close. Theyhad touched the soil of Little Island and made their secret camp there. Theyhad watched the great birds soar and wheel above the Needle, that stark pinnaclelashed by icy winds and ocean spray. They had launched one fierce seaattack on the British encampment on Greater Island, and at the last they hadbeen driven back. In this battle perished two of my mother's brothers. Cormackwas felled by a sword stroke clean to the heart and died in Liam'sarms. And Diarmid, seeking to avenge his brother's loss, fought as if possessedand at length was captured by the Britons. Liam's men found hisbody later, floating in the shallows as they launched their small craft and fled,outnumbered, exhausted, and heartsick. He had died from drowning, butonly after the enemy had had their sport with him. They would not let mymother see his body when they brought him home.

    These Britons were my father's people. But Iubdan had had no part inthis war. He had sworn, once, that he would not take arms against his ownkind, and he was a man of his word. With Sean it was different. My UncleLiam had never married, and my mother said he never would. There hadbeen a girl once that he had loved. But the enchantment fell on him and hisbrothers. Three years is a long time when you are only sixteen. When at lasthe came back to the shape of a man, his sweetheart was married and alreadythe mother of a son. She had obeyed her father's wishes, believing Liamdead. So he would not take a wife. And he needed no son of his own, for heloved his nephew as fiercely as any father could and brought him up, withoutknowing it, in his own image. Sean and I were the children of a single birth,he just slightly my elder. But at sixteen he was more than a head taller, closeto being a man, strong of shoulder, his body lean and hard. Liam hadensured he was expert in the arts of war. As well, Sean learned how to plan acampaign, how to deliver a fair judgment, how to understand the thinking ofally and enemy alike. Liam commented sometimes on his nephew's youthfulimpatience. But Sean was a leader in the making; nobody doubted that.

    As for our father, he smiled and let them get on with it. He recognizedthe weight of the inheritance Sean must one day carry. But he had not relinquishedhis son. There was time, as well, for the two of them to walk or ridearound the fields and byres and barns of the home farms, for Iubdan to teachhis son to care for his people and his land as well as to protect them. Theyspoke long and often, and held each other's respect. Only I would catchMother sometimes, looking at Niamh and looking at Sean and looking atme, and I knew what was troubling her. Sooner or later, the Fair Folk woulddecide it was time: time to meddle in our lives again, time to pick up thehalf-finished tapestry and weave a few more twisted patterns into it. Whichwould they choose? Was one of us the child of the prophecy, who would atlast make peace between our people and the Britons of Northwoods and winback the islands of mystic caves and sacred trees? Myself, I rather thoughtnot. If you knew the Fair Folk at all, you knew they were devious and subtle.Their games were complex; their choices never obvious. Besides, what aboutthe other part of the prophecy, which people seemed to have convenientlyoverlooked? Didn't it say something about bearing the mark of the raven?Nobody knew quite what that meant, but it didn't seem to fit any of us.Besides, there must have been more than a few misalliances between wanderingBritons and Irish women. We could hardly be the only children whobore the blood of both races. This I told myself; and then I would see mymother's eyes on us, green, fey, watchful, and a shiver of foreboding wouldrun through me. I sensed it was time, time for things to change again.

That spring we had visitors. Here in the heart of the great forest, the oldways were strong despite the communities of men and women that nowspread over our land, their Christian crosses stark symbols of a new faith.From time to time, travelers would bring across the sea tales of great illsdone to folk who dared keep the old traditions. There were cruel penalties,even death, for those who left an offering, maybe, for the harvest gods orthought to weave a simple spell for good fortune or use a potion to bringback a faithless sweetheart. The druids were all slain or banished over there.The power of the new faith was great. Backed up with a generous purse andwith lethal force, how could it fail?

    But here at Sevenwaters, here in this corner of Erin, we were a differentbreed. The holy fathers, when they came, were mostly quiet, scholarly menwho debated an issue with open minds and listened as much as they spoke.Among them, a boy could learn to read in Latin and in Irish, and to write aclear hand, and to mix colors and make intricate patterns on parchment orfine vellum. Amongst the sisters, a girl might learn the healing arts or how tochant like an angel. In their houses of contemplation there was a place forthe poor and dispossessed. They were, at heart, good people. But none fromour household was destined to join their number. When my grandfatherwent away and Liam became lord of Sevenwaters, with all the responsibilitiesthat entailed, many strands were drawn together to strengthen ourhousehold's fabric. Liam rallied the families nearby, built a strong fightingforce, became the leader our people had needed so badly. My father madeour farms prosperous and our fields plentiful as never before. He plantedoaks where once had been barren soil. As well, he put new heart into folkwho had drawn very close to despair. My mother was a symbol of whatcould be won by faith and strength, a living reminder of that other worldbelow the surface. Through her they breathed in daily the truth about whothey were and where they came from, the healing message of the spirit realm.

    And then there was her brother Conor. As the tale tells, there were sixbrothers. Liam I have told of, and the two who were next to him in age,who died in the first battle for the Islands. The youngest, Padriac, was a voyager,returning but seldom. Conor was the fourth brother, and he was adruid. Even as the old faith faded and grew dim elsewhere, we witnessed itslight glowing ever stronger in our forest. It was as if each feast day, eachmarking of the passing season with song and ritual, put back a little more ofthe unity our people had almost lost. Each time, we drew one step closer tobeing ready—ready again to reclaim what had been stolen from us by theBritons long generations since. The Islands were the heart of our mystery,the cradle of our belief. Prophecy or no prophecy, the people began tobelieve that Liam would win them back; or if not him, then Sean, whowould be lord of Sevenwaters after him. The day drew closer, and folk werenever more aware of it than when the wise ones came out of the forest tomark the turning of the season. So it was at Imbolc, the year Sean and I weresixteen, a year burned deep in my memory. Conor came, and with him aband of men and women, some in white, and some in the plain homespunrobes of those still in their training, and they made the ceremony to honorBrighid's festival deep in the woods of Sevenwaters.

    They came in the afternoon, quietly as usual. Two very old men and oneold woman, walking in plain sandals up the path from the forest. Their hairwas knotted into many small braids, woven about with colored thread.There were young folk wearing the homespun, both boys and girls; andthere were men of middle years, of whom my Uncle Conor was one. Comelate to the learning of the great mysteries, he was now their leader, a pale,grave man of middle height, his long chestnut hair streaked with gray, hiseyes deep and serene. He greeted us all with quiet courtesy: my mother,Iubdan, Liam, then the three of us, and our guests, for several householdshad gathered here for the festivities. Seamus Redbeard, a vigorous old manwhose snowy hair belied his name. His new wife, a sweet girl not so mucholder than myself. Niamh had been shocked to see this match.

    "How can she?" she'd whispered to me behind her hand. "How can shelie with him? He's old, so old. And fat. And he's got a red nose. Look, she'ssmiling at him! I'd rather die!"

    I glanced at her a little sourly. "You'd best take Eamonn then, and beglad of the offer, if what you want is a beautiful young man," I whisperedback. "You're unlikely to do better. Besides, he's wealthy."

    "Eamonn? Huh!"

    This seemed to be the response whenever I made this suggestion. Iwondered, not for the first time, what Niamh really did want. There was noway to see inside that girl's head. Not like Sean and me. Perhaps it was ourbeing twins, or maybe it was something else, but the two of us never had anyproblem talking without words. It became necessary, even, to set a guard onyour own mind at times so that the other could not read it. It was both auseful skill and an inconvenient one.


Excerpted from Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier. Copyright © 2001 by Juliet Marillier. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

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Reading Group Guide


Juliet Marillier was born in New Zealand and raised in the town of Dunedin, which is known as the "Edinburgh of the South," which explains her love of Celtic mythology. Juliet holds advanced degrees in music and languages, and now lives just outside of Perth, in Western Australia, where she is the mother of two daughters and two sons. Her first book, Daughter of the Forest, was published in 2000 to overwhelming critical and public acclaim.


"Fantasy is escapist: sometimes we don’t much like the world we live in, so we bury ourselves in a genre which conjures a multitude of worlds. And fantasy can be a substitute: in an age of scientific rationalism and dwindling religious faith, it demonstrates clear moral codes; basic choices between good and evil, explorations of light and dark.

Still, that doesn’t explain the fascination tales of the unreal, the imagined, and the Otherworldly have held for folk since well before Spenser or Mallory set quill to paper. Celt and Norseman had their epics of magic and mystery, heroism and romance. The Dreaming stories of Australia’s indigenous people and the Icelandic sagas, the Maori creation myths and the lore of the druids hold universal themes; they make sense of the relationship between man and nature, between man and his own kind. They are our key to the world around us.

Once, we’d have heard these tales around the fire after nightfall. This shadow time was for listening and reflection, and though the world could be confusing, the tales helped explain it. Folk understood their symbolism as they understood the patterns of planting and reaping, storm and calm, birth and death. In the stories, the very pattern and purpose of existence were encapsulated.

Times change. The fantasies we read are now highly developed, cunningly crafted, drawing not on a single shared culture but on our multiplicity of backgrounds. Yet at their heart there are the same universal messages; their symbolism is that of our ancient folklore, a powerful code which we still crave, for all our apparent sophistication. Yes, they entertain and divert; we read them for fun. But in the best of them we recapture something almost lost; a map for our own journey forward." —JULIET MARILLIER


In this second enthralling book in the Sevenwaters Trilogy, author Juliet Marillier ushers us back into the lush green forests and misty glades of ancient Ireland, to a time of great and sweeping change, when the old ways are forced to retreat in the face of the coming Christianity. Here, in this land of rugged beauty, the age-old battle for humankind’s destiny is fast approaching its turning point, as the Fair Folk spin their wild magic and the prophesies foretold so long ago come bursting dangerously to life.

In the first volume of the Sevenwaters Trilogy, Daughter of the Forest, the courageous young woman Sorcha was forced to defeat a sorceress’s curse, sacrificing herself to save her family. In Son of the Shadows, Sorcha now has a family of her own, including a daughter, Liadan. Like her mother, Liadan is both gifted in the arts of healing, and a storyteller of uncommon ability; she is also blessed—or cursed—with visions of great power.

Trouble comes to Sevenwaters with word of a band of fearsome mercenaries led by the mysterious Painted Man. Some whispers claim the fighters are half-man, halfanimal, able to move without a sound and killing all in their path with a cold and brutal efficiency. In a stunning twist of fate, Liadan falls into the Painted Man’s hands, only to find a warrior as fearsome as his legend, and a man far more troubled and complex. As their destinies intertwine with the great changes afoot in their forest sanctuary, Liadan and the Painted Man form a bond that will grow into something more, setting them inescapably onto their paths in the ancient prophesies.

Rich in detail and imagination, Son of the Shadows is a powerful continuation of one of today’s freshest and most exciting fantasy trilogies.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 159 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 159 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2014

    Good follow-up

    As enjoyable as the first.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2014


    I adored the 1st book and found this one to be a very satisfying followup.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    A great follow up from the first book...

    Although, it has much more graphic physical scenes then any of the other books of the whole series as far as I've read (i still need to read Child of the Prophecy). Liadan is a very admirable character and the story plot will have you reading the book nonstop. It does get a bit slow in the middle but it's enjoyable nonetheless in my opinion. I wish we would of gotten to know Ciaran's character more in this book but i'm hoping I'll know more about him in the next one. I give it 4 starts instead of 5 because some parts were too graphic for my taste (i'm not just talking about the gory scenes).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    Loved it! I think this book is the best of the Sevenwaters serie

    Loved it!
    I think this book is the best of the Sevenwaters series. I really enjoyed it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    Makes You Want to Fall In Love...

    A perfect sequal to the first book, a beautiful story of courage, love, sacrifice, & creating one's own destiny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    I really enjoyed this

    This second book in the series does not disappoint. Great read. Juliet is a good story teller!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012


    Just couldn't put this down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013


    Absolutely love this series. Always wish there were more.

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  • Posted October 5, 2012

    If you liked Daughter of the forest, you must read this sequel!

    I love how Juliet Marillier interweaves Irish/Celtic myths into stories that are still relevant, perhaps especially to women

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012


    I found this book beautifully written and enchanting. I do think I prefered the first book in the series, but it is still a wonderful read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    Another great book in this series!

    I loved the first book in this series, and this one was just as good! A great story of love for the family and for the man of her dreams. I love a leading woman that has a fierce love, but also a gentleness that makes her real. This daughter has that and more. Can't wait to read the 3rd book in this series :)

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  • Posted September 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it!

    I really liked the first book in this series and this one was better than the first. Out of the first 3 books this one is by far my favorite.

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  • Posted August 14, 2011

    Favorite of the series

    What a great love story....this will be a favorite of mine for a long time :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2011

    best series ever!

    ive read this seris to death i love them so much they are literally falling apart wow

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  • Posted February 23, 2011


    i loved reading the first novel in the sevenwaters saga called daughter of the forest, but there was just something about the son of shadows that had me transfixed the entire time. i could not put the book down and was quite taken with the love story between Liadan and Bran. Even with the tragic tale of Niamh and Cairan was profound. i highly recommend this book!!

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  • Posted January 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The best of the best!

    An enchantress's lasting curse, a mercenary for hire, and the daughter from an Irish household steadfast in the old faith. What do these three things all have in common?? A powerful story of love, valor, and unwavering faith. Juliet Marillier's Son of the Shadows is a book that will tug at the heart. Finishing it in one sitting, this book reminded me why I fell in love with reading in the first place.

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  • Posted March 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Best of the Trilogy

    Out of the Sevenwaters Trilogy this book held my interest the most. I agree that the book cover on this one is pretty creepy, but remember. "Don't judge a book by its cover". The story between Liadan and "Bran" is awesome! Liadan struggle with following the fair folk's wishes or her heart was very well written. Although some of the storyline was similar to the first one, I found this one more captivating. I loved the characters in this story more than the first book. Maybe it was because Liadan was able to actually have conversations with people which made it more interesting for me.

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  • Posted February 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Favorite book

    This is by far my favorite book and my favorite series. The writing is magical and the storyline is beautiful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:


    First off, isn't that the creepiest cover you have ever come across? The girl looks like the daughter of an alien tranvestite and Michael Jackson. Just creeps me out man....
    Anyway, I finished the first book in this four-book-trilogy a couple days ago, and I got this from the library right away. I rated the first one higher, just because it was fresh. This one repeated many of the same elements as the first. For example, the narrator. She sounded exactly like Sorcha. Same selfless saint girl. Except this one cried more and had more magic stuffs. I found it a bit tiring.
    But, that did not stop me from getting completely absorbed in the story. I even attempted to read it on the bus one afternoon. I did enjoy this book thoroughly, and absolutely ate up all the folk lore. I am a sucker for myths.
    So, do I recommend this series? Absolutely.

    P.S. If you are touchy about sex scenes, you might want to avoid this book. There are a few.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Son of the Shadows

    Son of the Shadows is the second novel in Juliet Marillier's amazing Sevenwater's series which follows Sorcha's youngest daughter Liadan. Liadan is a talented healer; so kind and open that people constantly compare her to her wonderful mother. Like her uncle Finbar, she is also gifted with the Sight which is more of a burden than anything. She was blessed to have been raised in happiness however, she keeps having the ominous feeling and flashes of insight warning her that life will soon be changing for the worse. Powerless to do anything about this, she clings to her brother and sister, trying to keep them close any way possible. On the way home from seeing her sister wed, Liadan is captured by a group of mercenaries who are known for their fierceness and cruelty. Forced to heal one of their badly wounded men, Liaden finds herself drawn to these men who proclaim to have no past or future but who are in awe of her. She especially is drawn to the Chief, Bran, whose future, like it or not, is directly tied to hers.

    Liadan faces some truly hard challenges, but unlike her mother Sorcha, she fights against what the Fair Folk and destiny have in store for her in favor of making her own future. I like that she's feisty and has a heart at the same time. I keep forgetting how young these girls are though. I mean Sorcha was 14 when she started her quest in Daughter of the Forest and Liadan is like 15 or 16 for most of the action in Son of the Shadows. Yikes, that's what you call a fast childhood.

    This was such a fantastic sequel to an amazing first book. I am constantly amazed by Marillier's seemingly slow buildup of action and conflict. You know something is going to happen to her characters but they are just going innocently along hits and you never even guessed what she had in store. On top of that, her love stories are always hard-won. Liadan and Bran are no exception. There is no easy happily-ever-after in any of Marillier's books and I think that is what makes their stories just so dang readable.

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