I enjoy a fantasy world in which actions have wide-ranging consequences almost as much as I love historical fantasy that really takes the time to consider how the supernatural elements that the author introduces might influence, and be affected by, the course of actual history. In the world of the Rowankind, Jacey Bedford manages to fulfil both those needs for me, along with crafting a densely plotted adventure that’s bursting at the seams with complex characters and convoluted missions.
After the excitement of their previous adventures, Ross and Corwen are hoping to spend some quiet time together, just enjoying their new, deeper, relationship. Fates, friends, and family intervene, however. Wild magic is on the rise, and soon the pair are sent across the country to deal with the suspected kidnapping of a Rowankind child by a magical creature. No sooner have they (mostly) dealt with that problem, than they receive another summons: this time to Corwen’s family home, where one brother is dead, one is missing, and the family’s main source of revenue is in serious trouble. Ross is somewhat perplexed to find that Corwen’s family are more prestigious than she had assumed, but she is reassured by Corwen’s confidence in her ability to cope with her new in-laws and they set off to Yorkshire, stopping along the way to enact another daring rescue.
Of course neither the adventure, nor the journey, ends in Yorkshire. Ross is reunited with old friends and other allies and needs all their help in order to track down the missing brother and, hopefully, persuade him to return home. At the bottom of all their troubles are, once again, some very human enemies: displaying very human traits of greed and entitlement, while suppressing the magic of those they believe to be their inferiors. Fortunately Ross is able to forge new allegiances with some magical folk who had up until this point managed to keep themselves hidden from – and within – the human world, but are now forced to reveal themselves: to Ross and Corwen at any rate.
As in the previous book, we see that all actions have consequences and can cause far-reaching repercussions, and, once again, I’m keen to find out what will befall our heroes next. A worthy second instalment in the series that will particularly appeal to fans of the first book, but won’t be completely impenetrable to those readers who are new to Ross and Corwen’s version of Regency England.
Britain, 1801. King George’s episodic sanity is almost as damaging as his madness. First Consul Napoleon is gathering his forces in France. The disease of democracy is spreading. The world is poised on the brink of the modern era, but the rowankind, long a source of free labor, have shaken off their bonds.
Some have returned to laru to find freedom with the Fae; others are trying to find a place in the world, looking for fair treatment under the law. The course of the industrial revolution may change forever.
Wild magic is on the rise. Creatures of legend are returning to the world: kelpies, pixies, trolls, hobs, and goblins. Ross and Corwen, she a summoner witch and he a wolf shapechanger, have freed the rowankind from bondage, but now they are caught in the midst of the conflict, while trying their best to avoid the attention of the Mysterium, the government organization which would see them hanged for their magic.
When an urgent letter calls Corwen back to Yorkshire, he and Ross become embroiled in dark magic, family secrets, and industrial treachery. London beckons. There they discover a missing twin, an unexpected friend, and an old enemy—called Walsingham.
Read an excerpt.