The Enchanted Swans
by Christy Nicholas
In pre-Celtic Ireland, Fionnuala was a fae princess, born to a life of luxury. She knew her duty and loved her family. She missed her mother, who died in childbirth when Fionnuala was but ten years old. Still, she had hopes and dreams of love and a full life.
All her dreams were stolen from her, ripped away in a torrent of envy and magic.
Now she must care for her three brothers while learning to live under an evil curse. Will she find a way to break the spell, or would they remain swans, tethered to three places for nine hundred years?
It was a good training session. It left me sweaty and tired, and I hadn’t thought of Mother for a full hour. Mistress Scuida was gentle at first, but soon realized I needed to vent my fury, so she increased her efforts. At one point, I snarled and roared at the weapons mistress, while she parried my attacks with grim determination. Aed still practiced on the pells, but I heard several good whacks from his direction.
I could never get inside Scuida’s guard unless she let me, of course. She was Father’s best warrior, a student of the Morrigan herself. She allowed my frustrations free reign with no damage to either me or her. I thanked her when I was exhausted and panting.
The thick bronze sword was not my favorite weapon. I did better with the bow. The bow, however, didn’t allow one to push their anger through blows as the sword did. I wanted to learn the spear, but Scuida didn’t believe I was ready yet for the large weapon. I occasionally practiced in the woods with my father’s fosterling, Tadhg. Just a few times, mind, but enough to enjoy it.
Aed, however, had great skill at the bow. He could hit a mark from twice the distance I could, despite being two winters younger. His skill ranked as high as many young adult warriors. Not the older ones, those with several hundred winters’ worth of experience and the physical strength needed to pull the great bows, but still, not bad for his mere eight winters. Maybe that’s why he didn’t argue as much with Scuida as he did with everyone else.
My people, the Tuatha Dè, the People of the Gods, lived much longer than the recent Milesian invaders. The humans lived a mayfly’s life, a mere fifty winters or so. We, however, might live a thousand winters, though we may still die through violence or disease. Mother had been barely thirty winters old.
After I wiped the betraying tears from my cheeks and choked down the knot in my throat, I changed from my practice breeches back into my simple dress. With a splash of clean water on my face, I took a deep breath and cleared my head. I must get control over this. My duty lay in being presentable at all times. As the eldest, I must be a credit to my mother.
It became easier this time to push the tears away. A good swallow, and they retreated. Could I dismiss grief so simply, then? I didn’t think so.
I headed toward the great hall. A quick meal and my afternoon lessons awaited me.
Aed grabbed two apples from the kitchen and scampered by me.
“Aed, where are you going?”
“I can’t enter the great hall now. You must think me a great fool.”
“I think you are the son of a king. Am I mistaken?”
He shrugged and ran to his room
Father sat silent on his chair. He stared into the middle distance. No one sat nearby or spoke to him, though at least twenty of the guards ate their midday meal in the hall. What conversation there was remained muted and strained.
I now wished I’d done the same as Aed.
It’s an interesting book. Mythical and set in Ireland, some of the names were hard to follow. The book starts with a death and doesn’t get much happier from there, so if you are looking for a nice uplifting read, this may not be your choice. Still the story is interesting and the author is a pretty good storyteller, though there were some overused words and phrases. I’d give this book 3/5/5 stars and maybe a 4 if you don’t mind not having a happy ending. I’m a sucker for romance myself, so I wish there had been one.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
My name is Christy Nicholas, also known as Green Dragon. I do many things, including digital art, beaded jewelry, writing and photography. In real life I’m a CPA, but having grown up with art and around me (my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are/were all artists), it sort of infected me, as it were. I love to draw and to create things. It’s more of an obsession than a hobby. I like looking up into the sky and seeing a beautiful sunset, or a fragrant blossom, a dramatic seaside. I then wish to take a picture or create a piece of jewelry to share this serenity, this joy, this beauty with others. Sometimes this sharing requires explanation – and thus I write. Combine this love of beauty with a bit of financial sense and you get an art business. I do local art and craft shows, as well as sending my art to various science fiction conventions throughout the country and abroad.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Christy Nicholas will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.