Child of the Prophecy (Sevenwaters Series #3)

Child of the Prophecy (Sevenwaters Series #3)

by Juliet Marillier

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312870362
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 01/01/2003
Series: Sevenwaters Series , #3
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 255,338
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.07(d)
Lexile: 760L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Juliet Marillier achieved international recognition with the publication of the first two award-winning novels in the Sevenwaters Trilogy, a historical fantasy set in Ireland and Britain in the ninth century, and loosely based on the fairy tale “The Six Swans”. Her other historical fantasy series include the Viking-inspired Light Isles duology and the Bridei Chronicles set in north Britain in the time of the Picts.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


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 andrelative 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 grey 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 grey. 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 blind of an eyelid would I let on that 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 the 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 al 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 them 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 farther, but his flood of words had dried up abruptly, and we brewed our tea and sat there drinking it together in silence as the sea birds 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 com 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 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 dine sand to a delicate shade of grey-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 for carrying vegetables or a heavy load of firewood.

Darragh, too, could weave, his long fingers fast and nimble. Once 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 broke. The stones stopped moving. Now they lay in a perfect circle.

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

I did as be 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.


Excerpted from Child of the Prophecy 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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Child of the Prophecy (Sevenwaters Series #3) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 108 reviews.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed the Sevenwaters trilogy. The books were well-written and the stories were complex and intriguing. The fantasy elements were topnotch, and I loved all the romantic bits. I don't have really any favorites thus far, for each book brought something I found interesting. I thought the first one had the best plot, the second one the best characters, and the third one to have the best narrator. These novels were nearly perfect to me, but I understand that they are not for everyone. Despite the rather creepy covers, I recommend this series completely. And if you enjoyed the books so far, this one will be no exception. I also understand that there is a fourth book to this trilogy(???), which I will read as soon as I get my hands on it.
SeeMichelleRead More than 1 year ago
This third book in the amazing Sevenwater's series (truly, you should read them now) continues with the story of the family's three-generation long struggle to safeguard the forests and the fae folk who dwell there which surrounds their home Sevenwaters. Raised by the outcast druid Ciaran and her grandmother, the evil sorceress Lady Oonagh, Fianne has been trained since birth to master the magic that would be able to destroy the Sevenwaters family. Believing this her only choice, Fainne is sent to Sevenwaters with explicit instructions from her grandmother to do her bidding or those she loves will suffer. Fainne finds herself being lulled into the companionable atmosphere at Sevenwaters even though she knows what she must accomplish will hurt those that she grows to love. Fainne's story seems more to delve into how people see themselves - as good or evil - and the lengths they will go to either change or keep that perception. Fainne has had one idea drilled into her head for so long that despite the many times her family tells her otherwise, she struggles to believe it. That said, I did have a little trouble relating to Fainne. With Sorcha and Laidan in the previous two books, I felt an immediate connection that even though I enjoyed this story it made me feel as if something was missing. Fainne is a wonderful character with strength and courage but I found it hard to connect with her choices and sorrows. Even though she is forced, she still has to do some horrible things that fill her with long lasting self-loathing and guilt. Like others, I've found in Marillier's books, her characters always face extreme hardships and suffering before they can achieve happiness - this is pretty standard. But I felt Fainne's reward for her struggles didn't adequately compensate for the hardships she had faced up to that point. I guess it had me feeling a little down after finishing. But it was still a lovely book full loyalty and trust and beautiful Irish stories inherent in any of Marillier's wonderful books. seemichelleread.blogspot.com
Awesomeness1 on LibraryThing 2 days ago
I thoroughly enjoyed the Sevenwaters trilogy. The books were well-written and the stories were complex and intriguing. The fantasy elements were topnotch, and I loved all the romantic bits. I don't have really any favorites thus far, for each book brought something I found interesting. I thought the first one had the best plot, the second one the best characters, and the third one to have the best narrator. These novels were nearly perfect to me, but I understand that they are not for everyone. Despite the rather creepy covers, I recommend this series completely. And if you enjoyed the books so far, this one will be no exception. I also understand that there is a fourth book to this trilogy(???), which I will read as soon as I get my hands on it.
atimco on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Child of the Prophecy is the third book in the Sevenwaters trilogy (which has been expanded to a quartet with the publication of Heir to Sevenwaters in 2008). Once again we have a new narrator, a child of the next generation of Sevenwaters, Fainne. Fainne is the illegitimate child of Niamh and her half-uncle Ciarán, and has been raised by her sorcerer father far away from the rest of the family. Her grandmother is Lady Oonagh, the same sorceress who sought to destroy the Sevenwaters line in the first book. Fainne has been trained in the ways of the craft and her grandmother wishes to send her among her relatives and use her a tool to finally bring Sevenwaters ¿ and the Tuátha Dé Danann ¿ to their knees. Though the Lady Oonagh has her ways of ensuring Fainne's obedience, Fainne hates what she is being made to do. But is she strong enough to resist the old sorceress' will?I prefer this installment to the second book because Fainne is a distinct narrator and has her own voice, whereas Liadan blends a bit too much with Sorcha. Fainne's strugges with her unchangeable lineage are compelling and well written, and it is easy to identify with her feelings of guilt over the evil she has done. Fainne believes that she can never aspire to the ways of the light because of her tainted blood from her evil grandmother. But every girl has two grandmothers, and Fainne's other grandmother is Sorcha, the daughter of the Forest.Each of the Sevenwaters books deal with abuse in some form. In Daughter of the Forest, a boy is cruelly tortured for information, and the heroine is raped. In Son of the Shadows, we witness Niamh's abuse at the hands of her husband and Bran's childhood beatings. In Child of the Prophecy, there is physical abuse with Lady Oonagh punishing Fainne when she makes a mistake, but the keener pain is when Fainne is forced to hurt people she cares about or stand by as they suffer under her grandmother's power. As in the other books, there are some R-rated scenes, only this time it's a seduction (and an ill-fated one at that). Not for young readers! Thankfully, Marillier did not tack on another explicit scene at the end where she might have. The end is a bit ambiguous and bittersweet; altogether probably the best way it could have ended for Fainne, I think. Fantasy fans shouldn't miss Sevenwaters, which blends a historical setting with fantasy and magic. It's an addicting and enjoyable series.
SunnySD on LibraryThing 2 days ago
The final book in the Sevenwaters trilogy, this doesn't disappoint. Fainne is the daughter of Niamh ad Ceiran, star-crossed lovers who fled Sevenwaters to escape the stigma their pairing would have brought upon them, and granddaughter of the wicked sorceress Lady Oonagh. Fainne has grown to young adult-hood trained by her father in the arts of a sorcerer and the restraint of a druid. Her only friend is a tinker's son, Darragh. When Oonagh reappears and takes a hand in Fainne's training, she reveals that Fainne is destined to play a critical role in the sorceress's plot to bring about the downfall of Sevenwaters and the Fair Folk themselves. As events unfold, it seems that Fainne may be the only thing standing between the Otherworld and complete devastation. Is she strong enough?Expertly plotted, and beautifully crafted. Reading through to the grand finale was a pleasure. Probably best to start at the beginning of the trilogy, though, because there are many plot threads that won't make sense, otherwise.
Anonymous 11 days ago
This culmination of the series is a great read.
Unreachableshelf on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I think the reason I don't care for this book quite as much as the first two in the series is that I find it harder to buy into the romance. The hero and heroine might not actually be apart any more than those in the second book, but the hero seems like less of a part of the story. Maybe it's because the relationship between the heroine and the hero isn't a romance until almost the end of the book (at least from her perception, which is the one we get). The book's saving grace is that the climax is far from predictable; upon rereading it, it's all there to see from the start, but I didn't see it coming at all the first time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I barely slept at night when i had time to read. Kept it by my bed & if i woke, i read, no matter the time. My longing for nature, real and mysterious were filled to the brim. How i long to live there,!,,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Readable but not as good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite of the series. Dont get why others complain so much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not care for this story when compared to the first and second book. It was indeed much darker and about the craft. A little disturbing as to the detail of how things are. The character devement was just so so. I did not care for the lead, she seemed whiny and it took until the very end to see what strength she might have. Liked Darragh a lot. She did not deserve him. Not sure what he saw in her -- in other words, not the best development....not like the otherbooks. 1400+ pages is a lot toget thru. The first two stories i fead quickly, but not this one. I actually skimmed some detail because i just wanted the story to move. I felt there was a lot of repetiton with Fanine's whining. Anyway, rather anti-climatic. Truthfully, i was expecting much more to the conclusion. Most all of it i had figured out early on. Glad the series is done (for me, anyway).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Different than the first two, but still a nice conclusion to the trilogy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first two books are filled with so much love for family and a passionate love for a man that this book took me by surprise. It's very dark and I can see why people didn't enjoy it as much. But you get to see a perspective from an outsider who is technically a part of Sevenwaters but is actually an outcast. You get to experience the lonliness, confusion, and the pain that the warmth and love of Sevenwaters may inflict on someone who cannot belong. I was pretty shocked at the behavior of some of my beloved characers from the previous books. Honestly there wan't much plot in this story but it was still marvelously written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i read this it was the last in the trilogy. As a part of the series it was okay but not a good one tend with. Epic battle if you can push through to the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This one was quite dark. There was a few chapters in a row where it was almost too much. I actually looked at the ending to see if it was worth it to keep reading.. It was, I'm glad i finished. Don't want to spoil, but the goodness did prevail! Worth the read just know it's a different tone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1Ardee More than 1 year ago
I'm a new convert to Marillier's work, and can't put it down. I am a rabid reader, and these are the kind of books that keep me from getting work done, eating, sleeping, etc.! She conveys human complexity mixed with common and uncommon legend and mythology. Great stories.