This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
05.09.19 / Jo Fletcher (Quercus) / Fantasy-Legend / Hardback / 320pp / 978-1787479203
Someone is murdering the Merry Men . . .
It’s been a mostly quiet life since Robin Hood put aside his pregnant wife Marian, turned his back on his Merry Men and his former life and retreated to a monastery to repent his sins . . . although no one knows what was so heinous he would leave behind Sherwood Forest and those he loved most.
But when friends from their outlaw days start dying, Father Tuck, now the Abbott of St Mary’s, suspects a curse and begs Marian to use her magic to break it. A grieving Marian must bargain for protection for her children before she sets out with a soldier who’s lost his faith, a trickster Fey lord, and a sullen Robin Hood, angry at being drawn back into the real world.
It’s not long before Marian finds herself enmeshed in a maze of secrets and betrayals, tangled relationships and a vicious struggle for the Fey throne.
And if she can’t find and stop the spell-caster, no protection in Sherwood Forest will be enough to save her children.
A wonderful re-imagining of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, perfect for fans of Katherine Arden, Naomi Novik and Christina Henry.
Guest Post by Jaime Lee Moyer
At times I have a hard time pinpointing exactly where the inspiration for a novel comes from. A vague idea grows into something bigger, or a character pops into my head and won’t leave me alone. With Brightfall, I know exactly where Marian, Jack, Bert and Robin’s story came from.
I was browsing in a bookstore one afternoon and there was a big table full of historical and fantasy novels. There were books about Robin Hood, Will Scarlett, Tuck, and a whole cast of famous names from myth and legend – all of them male. As I walked away, I thought to myself, ‘Why doesn’t anyone ever write a book about Marian?’ In the time it took to drive home, the story had begun to take shape in my head.
But I didn’t want to write Marian the way I’d seen her before, as a dewy-eyed young woman whose only value to the Merry Men was as Robin’s love interest. I wanted my Marian to be older, settled in her own skin and with all the joys and sorrows of the life she’d lived thus far a part of her: a part that made her stronger. Most of all, I wanted Marian to be the hero.
Myths and legends, and at times, historical retellings, pin a character to a certain time or a certain age. They’re frozen there, eternally young and brash, forever a blushing girl of eighteen. Even as a child, reading my way through the library as fast as I could, that didn’t feel right. These characters were as real to me as the neighbors next door and real people change, grow older.
Legends end, but I’ve always believed that the characters’ lives go on. That was the second inspiration for this book, to tell the story of what happened to Marian – and Robin – when their outlaw days were over. A thousand questions went through my head about how she’d changed, who she was, what she’d care about and what her life in Sherwood had become. It was a given, at least to me, that Marian would stay in the forest, that Sherwood would be full of magic and that Marian would be in the thick of it all. She was the hero of this story.
Historical fantasy gives me a way to tell the story behind the story and to peek behind the curtain when the play is over and see what happens. I love being able to tell those stories. Loving what you do is the best inspiration of all.
About Jaime Lee Moyer
Jaime Lee Moyer lives in a dry land of cactus and cowboys, while dreaming of tall trees and the ocean. She writes novels about murder and betrayal, friendship, ghosts and magic, and she feels it’s only fair to warn you that all her books are kissing books. She is the author of Delia’s Shadow, A Barricade In Hell and Against A Brightening Sky, published by Tor Books, and the forthcoming Brightfall, from Jo Fletcher Books. She writes a lot. She reads as much as she can.