Set in the Ireland of the Troubles, before the recent détente, this fraught debut captures the backdrop of tension and choosing sides that overlays even the smallest act. The lingering effects of the Kesh and Malone prisons are gut-wrenchingly convincing. Less developed are the magical elements. Former prisoner Liam's ignorance of his fae side makes sense, as his mother, Kathleen, and mentor, Father Murray, seek to protect him, but Leicht only introduces one full-fledged fae, Liam's father, and his offstage war with the Redcap is more told than shown. Liam's marriage to Mary Kate is a believable complex of love, lust, pride, anger and forgiveness, but the really pivotal relationship is with Father Murray, a member of an arm of the church that kills the fae in the belief that they are Fallen. Perhaps later books will expand the intriguing premise. (Feb.)
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Liam Kelly grows up in the Catholic section of Derry, Northern Ireland, aware that the man who married his mother was not his father, and he hates him for it. What Liam doesn't know is that his true father is a member of the Fair Folk, who are at war with the Fallen, angels exiled from Heaven who now cause trouble on Earth. As the Troubles of the 1970s escalate, another battle rages behind the scenes and threatens everything Liam loves. Leicht's debut treats a complicated era with realism and sensitivity while infusing the violence of the times with dark magic and spiritual warfare. VERDICT Featuring strong series potential, this polished urban fantasy will appeal to fans of Charles de Lint and Tanya Huff.