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Blade of Fortriu by Juliet Marillier

Blade of Fortriu (original 2006; edition 2005)

by Juliet Marillier

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5601117,796 (4.1)33
Title:Blade of Fortriu
Authors:Juliet Marillier
Collections:Your library
Tags:fantasy, fiction, Ancient Britain, Celtic, high fantasy, historical fantasy, historical fiction, Picts, romance, Scotland

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Blade of Fortriu by Juliet Marillier (2006)



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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Wow. I didn't think it could happen. A part of a trilogy that brings other, minor characters into the fore and fleshes them out. But here you have that twist, in the hands of a master writer, who keeps both lines of a story going a la Two Towers.

Still building his kingdom and dealing with the problems of the Gaels in the West of his country is new king Bridei with his wife Tuala at his side and a baby to inherit the kingdom. The battle scenes are well-written and what I would imagine war on horseback with weapons to be: all the blood, pain, and sudden turns of change.

Then you have the primary plot of Faolan, the spy and trusted companion of Bridei, who is to escort the young Ana to her betrothed, Alpin, in distant Briar Wood. Both characters are mentioned as minor details in a larger tapestry in Well of Shades; here they have the central stage of events in the story. Such a deviation from the normal method of storytelling helps the history of Fortriu move forward while still keeping the reader's interest.

Again, there are plot twists that keep you alert and guessing and interested in every character's outcome. Even the bad ones: are they going to get their just desserts? And what is going to happen to one group of individuals or to another?

The writing is still more terse than Daughter of the Forest (whose writing is on par with Guy Gavriel Kay and Patricia McKillip), but I think that style adds to the difference in plot between the two. And landscape and culture and history. ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
In this sequel to The Dark Mirror, King Bridei of the Priteni believes his mission is to eradicate the Gaels and their Christian religion from his lands. He is a strong king, brave in battle and devout in his allegiance to the old gods, so he's the ideal person to unite the Priteni against this outside threat. Bridei is planning a big move against the Gaels, but in order to succeed, he needs the help of a foreign chieftain named Alpin. Bridei therefore proposes to offer his royal hostage, Ana, to Alpin as a bride, hoping this will ensure his loyalty. Ana longs to marry for love, but she knows she has no choice in the matter. She sets out for Alpin's lands in the company of Faolan, Bridei's most trusted bodyguard, spy, and assassin. As Ana and Faolan travel together, their relationship deepens, but she is already promised to Alpin. And when she finally arrives at Alpin's court, Ana discovers a shocking secret that will have drastic implications for both Bridei's campaign and her own heart.

Much like its predecessor, The Dark Mirror, this book is very slow-paced, and I had trouble getting into it as a result. I find the world of this series fascinating; it's based on historical facts (the Priteni were real, and Bridei really was their king for a time), but Marillier weaves many fantastical elements into the setting. Half the novel focuses on Ana's story, while the other half follows Bridei's campaign against the Gaels. Personally, I was much more interested in Ana's story, especially since I always enjoy a little romance with my fantasy! Interestingly, the story seems very predictable at first, but it eventually veers into an unexpected direction. I wasn't entirely pleased with the resolution of Ana's story, but it does provide some interesting avenues to explore in the final book of the trilogy. I'll definitely be reading The Well of Shades to see how everything turns out, but I don't think this series is Marillier's best work. Try her Sevenwaters books instead!
  christina_reads | May 9, 2014 |
Book Two of The Bridei Chronicles (Bridei Trilogy): This book carries on the story of young king Bridei who has held the throne of Fortriu for five years now. His preparations for war include Ana; the captive princess of the Light Isles who has been held hostage at the court of Fortriu for many years. Bridei strategically plans to wed Ana in an effort to forge alliances. Ana will travel north to marry Alpin of Briar Wood who Bridei hopes with aid him in his effort to rid Fortriu of the Gaelic invaders.

Escorting Ana on her journey is Bridei's assassin and spy, Faolan. Their ill-fated journey includes a terrible flash flood, death, a mysterious prisoner as well as a future husband who is not what he seems to be.

A great read. ( )
  DebbieMcCauley | Jan 15, 2013 |
Book 2 of a Trilogy. This fantasy is set in Britain, but revolves more around the Picts, the pre-Celtics inhabitants of part of the Isles. The romance is more pronounced, and better handled, than in some of her earlier work. ( )
  KarenIrelandPhillips | May 11, 2012 |
Five years, and a life time, have gone into this, and now after all this time King Bridei is ready to march into battle to unite his people, to drive out the invaders, to save the gods he loves. As with every war there are uncertainties, and for Bridei the north holds one of these; Alpin of Briar Wood.

As a hostage and princess of Fortriu Ana's duty compels her to agree to an arranged marriage to a man of unknown character but of fearful reputation. For Bidei's sake, and that of Fortriu, Faolan, Ana and a small party set out northward in the hopes of securing an alliance for the King. However no one could have predicted the horrors of what awaited them.

Lives are about to change through war, imprisonment, freedom, truth, love and death. Bridie faces an uncertain future where death seems the only outcome. Ana follows duty to a fault until she learns there are more important things in life. Faolan is a man unmoved by emotions but will find new strength in his weaknesses. A secret prisoner is held by bonds of blood and guilt and one very big cage until love sets him free.

The Blade Of Fortriu is a symbol of hope and courage to a people who's lives, land and religion are under threat from invaders. However the Blade of Fortriu is much more then a symbol or an idea, it is a man, the one man fated to unite a land. As people are change, loves are found, hearts are broken and lives are taken, this story, part history, part myth, part fantasy, will capture your imagination as well as your heart. ( )
  LarissaBookGirl | Oct 31, 2010 |
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Juliet Marillierprimary authorall editionscalculated
Natale, VinceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In a draughty passageway below the Dalriadan fortress of Dunadd, two men met in the shadow.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765348764, Mass Market Paperback)

Five Winters have passed since young king Bridei ascended the throne of Fortriu. Five years, in which the people have felt a contentment unknown for generations.

But the security of a people can vanish in a heartbeat, for wolves are often drawn to fields filled with fattened sheep. Bridei is determined to drive the Gaelic invaders from his lands once and for all. And so, with his land secure and his house in order, he prepares for war.
One of Bridei's plans to win the war to come involves the beautiful young Ana. A princess of the Light Isles, she has dwelt as a hostage at the court of Fortriu for most of her young life. Despite being a pawn of fortune, she has bewitched all at court and is dearly loved by Bridei and his queen. But Ana understands her duty. And so she will travel north, to make a strategic marriage with a chieftain she has never seen, in the hopes of gaining an ally on whom Bridei's victory relies.

For secrecy's sake, Ana must travel at a soldier's pace, with a small band led by the enigmatic spymaster Faolan. Bridei implores Ana to trust him and see the good in Faolan…but Ana cannot see beyond his cold competence and killer's eyes.

Then, when she arrives at the chieftain Alpin's stronghold in the mysterious Briar Woods, her discomfort and unease increase tenfold, for this is a place of full of secrets and her betrothed is an enigma himself. The more Ana tries to uncover the truth of her new life, the more she discovers a maze of polite diversions that mask deadly lies. She fears Faolan, but he may prove to be the truest thing in her world.

Or her doom.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In the sequel to The Dark Mirror, as the king prepares for a war to expel the Gaelic invaders for all time, he sends the princess Ana, a hostage of Fortriu since childhood, to make a strategic marriage to a a chieftain she has never met, accompanied on her journey by Faolan, Brideis enigmatic assassin and spy.… (more)

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