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Strands of Starlight

by Gael Baudino

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Strands (1)

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401655,952 (3.7)12
Miriam is a frail young outcast whose healing powers have branded her a witch in the Inquisition of 14th-century Europe. Fleeing her city in search of the Free Towns and acceptance, she is brutally violated by a man she heals from the brink of death.

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» See also 12 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
great story: healers, elven magic in medieval times.
Noted during my 1980's attempt to read every book in my small town library. ( )
  juniperSun | Dec 4, 2014 |
I received a copy from Netgalley in enhange for an honest review.

This book was not for me. I gave up at 40%. The novel started out quite interesting, I've not read much of this type of epic fantasy before. The blurb on Netgalley sounded good. Though I read the first 20% reasonably quickly, I found I did not like the main character Miriam. I found her cold, bitchy and couldn't relate to her or really feel anything for her. I can understand why she is that way due to the terrible hardships she's been through and why she is so cold and angry...

But the more I read, the less and less interesting I found the plot. I did like the Elves, but even their calmness became irritating. Not a series I will be continuing.

So thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to view this title, even though this book was not to my taste. ( )
  sunset_x_cocktail | Aug 20, 2014 |
When I was younger, I was very into Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. Also when I was younger, the one thing that I could always count on my mother to buy for me was a book. As a result, I have a shelf full of unread novels at home, so despite the fact that my tastes have shifted a bit, I still take a few of them back to New York with me every time I am home in the hopes that eventually I’ll make it through them all. I do still enjoy the genre, just not with the same forgiveness I had for it when I was younger.

This particular novel is a sort of merger between historical fiction and fantasy. The book takes place in seventeenth century England, and features some real historical figures. However, the main character is firmly rooted in the fantasy tradition – she is Miriam, an 18 year old girl with healing power. The book opens with her escaping from a “witch trial”. During her escape, she comes across a man who is dying. After healing him, he repays her by raping her. So, in the first fifty pages, two fantasy conventions have been fulfilled: healing powers and rape. I will never understand why so many fantasy authors are obsessed with the rape, torture and beating of women.

The rest of the story follows a fairly predicatable path of revenge and redemption. There is a forest, and a priest and some elves and plenty of magic and sword-fighting. I found most of the book to be exceptionally tedious, and I left it in my hotel room in Nairobi. ( )
1 vote elleceetee | Apr 1, 2013 |
This book contains two of my favourite genres of fiction. A mix of Medieval history and fantasy set in a fictional country during a real period of history this novel asks the question of “what if elves and witches really existed in Medieval Europe during the time of the Inquisition?”

A young woman, Miriam, has been tortured by the Inquisition as a witch because of her ability to heal. She manages to escape but who can she trust? Twisted by her experiences she vows revenge. The story is of how this search changes her and those around her.

Taking the idea that the world can be viewed as a pattern and that how we live influences those around us the issue of consequences is an important theme. It asks some of the questions that I have asked – how did the teachings of Christ, the lessons of love your neighbour and heal the sick become twisted into the idea of heresy and witchcraft that the inquisition investigated? Does seeking revenge make you as bad, or worse, as those who first injured you?

This is counted as the first in a series but it is not one of those fantasy series that ends on a cliffhanger -demanding that you have to read the next book. This stands as a complete story in itself (with the seeds of the future planted). I would like to know how the story develops and the consequences of Miriam’s actions but, even though I am going to try and find copies of the sequels, I am not desperate to know what happens next. Having said that I have to say that I love this book and think it is nearly perfect so I would encourage anybody to at least give this book a chance. Well worth reading. ( )
3 vote calm | Sep 8, 2009 |
A tale of elven magick during the time of the Inquisition in 14th century Europe. A great book... I'm going to hunt down the sequels myself. ( )
2 vote CheriePie69 | Sep 9, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gael Baudinoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Canty, ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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"Et ades sera l'alba!"
This is for Mirya
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Miriam is a frail young outcast whose healing powers have branded her a witch in the Inquisition of 14th-century Europe. Fleeing her city in search of the Free Towns and acceptance, she is brutally violated by a man she heals from the brink of death.

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Baudino ( Dragonsword ) sets this engrossing fantasy-adventure in a mythical land that replicates the political and religious tensions of 14th-century Europe. The heroine, Miriam, unwillingly gifted with the power to heal, falls victim to a savage Inquisition that condemns her ability as witchcraft, and to a ruthless nobleman who rapes her after she saves his life. Baudino understands the psychology of the persecuted, astutely motivating the self-immolating rage that consumes Miriam and leads her to undergo a complete, magical physical metamorphosis (she becomes tall, strong and beautiful) so that she can be a scourge for her enemies. Though the plot has its share of exciting sword fights, bold rescues and similar stock-in-trade, Baudino focuses on Miriam's interior journey--her spiritual (which accompanies the corporeal) transformation through contact with the uncorrupted Elves, with the pagan priestesses known as witches and with simple Christians. Her tale acquires an elegiac power, mourning the loss of innocent sources of wisdom even as it vividly imagines them.
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