From the author of the bestselling Bones of Faerie trilogy—a captivating modern odyssey that weaves the fierce love and violent passions of the ancient Icelandic sagas into the twenty-first century with spellbinding results.
When Haley gets caught between an ancient spell and a modern betrayal, the world will burn.
After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. Amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley picks up a silver coin that entangles her in a spell cast by her ancestor Hallgerd, a sorceress intent on stealing another’s life to escape her own.
To break the spell, Haley sets off on an epic adventure with Ari, a boy with a dangerous secret who appoints himself her protector. The two soon learn that Hallgerd’s spell and Haley’s mother’s disappearance are linked to a chain of events that threaten to unleash terrifying powers and consume the world itself.
To keep that from happening Haley must find a way to contain the growing fires of the spell—before the fire consumes her and all that she holds dear.
“Adopting figures from Icelandic sagas, Simner (Bones of Faerie) creates a captivating modern odyssey … Incorporating references to Star Wars and Norse myth alike, Simner is poetic whether writing about magic and sorcery or simply getting inside her characters’ heads.” —Publishers Weekly
“Simner’s second book, a fantasy set in modern times but rooted in ancient Icelandic sagas, has great reader appeal. The plot is compelling–a page-turner … The climax is a humdinger, and while the resolution is bittersweet, it makes sense and is consistent with the magical rules of the book. There’s some innocent romance to pique reader interest, while dark magic will attract readers who enjoy touches of Norse mythology in their fantasy reading.” —Kirkus
“Simner skillfully weaves Haley and Ari’s modern emotional struggles into the ancient saga and enlivens the story with an intriguing cast of characters from the original tale. With its urgent pace and unique setting, this offering from the author of Bones of Faerie will stay with readers.” —Booklist
“This appealing novel centers around and embellishes Icelandic legend—specifically Njal’s Saga. Simner takes the old stories and brings them into the 21st century in this cyclical novel about the powerful relationship between mothers and daughters.” —School Library Journal
“This book will keep readers turning pages as the two teens face dangers, test their own courage and stamina, and learn that things aren’t always simply right or wrong. The story is compelling from the start … a fast read that will have teens reading into the night to finish it quickly.” —Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN)
“Simner brings the remote, quake-racked island vividly to life … She inhabits her Iceland with complex, sympathetic characters who pay steep costs for the actions of others and themselves. She skillfully blends ancient Icelandic legend (specifically, Njal’s Saga) and Scandinavian myth with the modern world.” – Fantasy Magazine
“The scariness and apocalypse of the source material is well reflected here. It’s a smart book, without easy answers, and Haley’s struggle to integrate her childhood perceptions of her parents with adult realities rings very true.” —Realms of Fantasy
A YASLA Best Books for Young Adults (BFYA) nominee, ALAN Pick, and Bank Street Best Book
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About the Author
Janni Lee Simner lives in the Arizona desert, where the plants know how to bite and the dandelions have thorns. In spite of these things—or maybe because of them—she believes she lives in one of the most stunning places on earth.
Her post-apocalyptic Bones of Faerie trilogy is set after the war between the human and faerie realms has destroyed the world, leaving behind a land filled with deadly magic. The first book, Bones of Faerie, was dubbed, “Pure, stunning, impossible to put down or forget,” by World Fantasy Award winner Jane Yolen. School Library Journal describes the second book, Faerie Winter, as, “A hauntingly exquisite portrait of a postapocalyptic world.”
She’s also the author of Thief Eyes, a contemporary young adult fantasy based on the Icelandic sagas; of the kids’ adventure story Tiernay West, Professional Adventurer; of the short-story collection Unicorn Seasons; and of three more novels and more than 30 more short stories, including appearances in Welcome to Bordertown and Cricket magazine.
To learn more about visit her online at www.simner.com.
Read an Excerpt
Icy rain blew into my hood and dripped down my neck as I knelt on the mossy stones. The sky was gray, layers of cloud hiding any hint of sun. The wind picked up, and I shivered, missing the hot desert skies of home. It was way too cold for a June day.
Not that Dad noticed. He grinned as he traced a crack running through the rocks. "Amazing, isn't it? You can almost feel the earth pulling apart."
"Yeah. Sure." I looked down into the small fissure and saw nothing but endless dark. I shifted my soggy backpack on my shoulders and rubbed my eyes, gritty from a night spent flying across the Atlantic. I'd never been much good at sleeping on planes. Yeah, Dad, I followed you four thousand miles to Iceland so we could stare at holes in the ground.
I got up, stretching stiff legs. Beyond a metal fence, the cliff where we stood dropped down to a grassy plain. A gray river braided its way through bright green grasses, and a few wet geese hunkered down by its shores. The geese looked cold, too. Probably they were thinking the same thing I was: the sooner they could get somewhere warm, the better.
"So this is where it happened?" I tried to sound casual, like I didn't much care.
Dad looked up. His dark eyes were shot with redhe wasn't good at sleeping on planes, eitherand his hair stuck out from beneath his windbreaker, dripping water. "You mean the rifting? It's happening throughout this valley. The North American and European tectonic plates meet here, and they're forever pulling away from each other. Only the pulling doesn't all happen in any one place, so"
"That's not what I mean." I fought not to let my frustration show. You know that's not what I mean.
Dad sighed. "No, Haley, this isn't where it happened." His sleep-deprived eyes took on the lost look I'd come to know way too well this past year. The look that made me decide Dad didn't need to know if I'd blown another test at school, or fallen asleep in class because nightmares had woken me in the middle of the night again, or was tired of peanut butter and jelly for dinner but just as tired of cooking if I wanted anything else.
I'd come four thousand miles. This was more important than a few bad dreams or missed meals. "Where, then?"
A couple brushed past us, clutching the hands of the toddler who walked between them. Dad looked at the cracked earth. "Logberg. Law Rock."
"Where's that?" Rain soaked through my running shoes, turning my socks clammy and cold. Back home, we canceled track meets for weather like thisbut I was the one who'd asked Dad to bring me here. He'd wanted to stay at the guesthouse and catch up on his jet-lagged sleep.
Dad sighed again. "You're not going to let this go, are you?"
Let this go? I dug my nails into my cold, damp palms. No need for Dad to hear me screaming, either. When your mother disappears without a trace, you don't just let it go. "I want to see. Is that so much to ask?" I kept my voice calm, reasonablethe same voice I'd used to convince Dad to take me to Thingvellir today, because I really wanted to visit the national park that was the site of Iceland's ancient parliament and in the middle of a rift valley and, oh, yeah, just happened to be the place where my mother disappeared last summer.
"Fine, Haley." Dad got to his feet, and I knew for once I'd won. I followed him away from the lookout, my running shoes squishing on the wet gravel path. Dripping tendrils escaped my blond ponytail and clung damply to my cheeks. I slowed to match Dad's pace. I'd grown taller than him this past year, which still seemed strange.
The path cut down through a cleft between blocky stone walls that formed a perfect wind tunnel. Goose bumps prickled beneath my damp sleeves. Dad looked up at the rocks. "You can almost see how they must have fit together once, can't you? Before the rifting tugged them apart."
What I saw was my father hiding behind another geology lecture. Maybe Dad couldn't help it. Maybe when you spent your whole life studying rocks and earthquakes, you forgot how to talk to people.