Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Something Red, by Douglas Nicholas (fiction) - white winter journey, red beast of death prowling

book cover of Something Red by Douglas Nicholas published by Atria
If only they can make the coast before winter,
If only they can get through the pass before snowfall,
If only they can escape this winter hell with their lives.

Dangers on all sides as Molly's pieced-together family survives the treacherous pass (thanks to warrior monks!), but must reach the inn and the castle on their own. A deadly dangerous something is magically shielding itself from even  Nemain's fey perception and is waiting...

Fantasy, fear, mythology, a desperate trudge through snow and snow as Something Red,  something evil stalks the travelers.

Can you spy it just there, out of the corner of your eye, as Hob does?

Book info: Something Red / Douglas Nicholas. Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 2012. [author interview] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: Just out of sight, danger stalks them along the remote forest roads. Dame Molly, her niece Nemain, mysterious Jack, and the orphan Hob push their ox-drawn wagons fast as they dare, hoping to escape the oncoming snows. But when an attacker is snowed-in with them, their castle safe haven becomes a death house.

This is Hob’s first journey through the Pennines since Irish healer Molly adopted the young teen from the priest in his small north English village. Bandits regularly rob and kill travelers on these mountain byways, despite armed escorts by St. Germaine’s monks, veterans of the Crusades. Molly and burly Jack are on high alert, for something is trailing them on this steep road, hiding among the dense trees, its night-call darkening their souls.

From the monastery-guarded mountain pass to the double-walled palisade of Osbert’s Inn, patrolled by a dozen vicious mastiffs, they hear tales of recent tragedies and join forces with pilgrims to travel together to Sir Jehan’s castle before the road is closed by snow.

The caravan is ambushed as snow falls harder still. Molly and Nemain of the old religion try to interpret the omens appearing in the blizzard’s shadows. Even within the castle stronghold, they will not be safe, it seems, for the relentless evil being stalking them along the road has arrived there, too.

How did the death-bringer pass through prayers and countercharms around the castle?
Can massive warrior Jack protect those he claims now as family?
Why has this dreadful evil chosen them for its prey?

Wooden-wheeled oxcart, the traveler and the knight, mysterious forces consulted by Molly and Nemain, the high-born and the low, all spring forth in the intricate tapestry woven by poet Douglas Nicholas’first novel recounting this inexorable hunt by a hidden enemy. (Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.)

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