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Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier

01/04/2010. Contributed by Eamonn Murphy

Buy Heart's Blood in the USA - or Buy Heart's Blood in the UK

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pub: TOR-UK/Pan Macmillan. 405 page hardback. Price: £17.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-230-01791-7.

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The setting is the west of Ireland in the days when the Normans had not yet conquered it all but were slowly taking over. Our heroine is Caitlin, a pretty dark-haired girl who has been trained by her father as a scribe, able to write and translate Latin into Irish (authorís words, it actually should be Gaelic).

This was a rare skill in those days and is surely unheard of now. Caitlinís world is turned upside down when the beloved father suddenly dies. Evil relatives move in and take over the house, imprison and beat her when she dares to resist. In a brave moment, she escapes and flees, hitching lifts to anywhere just to get away.

She ends up at Whistling Tor, where the lonely Chieftan Anluan rules a small household of very peculiar people and barely holds sway over a deadly magical horde called forth by his evil great-grandfather. He dare not leave the hill lest they break loose.

Caitlinís skill as a scribe gets her the job of translating old documents left behind by Anluanís ancestors. He is hoping to find a solution to his predicament. She merely seeks refuge from her family and a chance to re-build her shattered life.

Then the Normans move in and the trouble really starts.

Eamonn Murphy

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