Mythology and Folklore: In the Forests of Serre, by Patricia McKillip

Telltale Hearts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deep within a secret cave in a far northern land, a monster’s hidden heart is stolen. In the land of Serre, the king has arranged for the marriage of princess Sidonie of Dacia to his only son, Crown Prince Ronan. Sidonie’s father agrees in the interest of promoting peace between the two kingdoms, but is worried for her safety, because the King of Serre cannot ever be trusted. To ensure princess’ safety,the most skillful of all wizards, Unciel, sends a young protege, Gyre, as her guardian. And Sidonie will need a guardian, for her future husband, still deep in grief after losing his first wife and their newborn son, has been entranced by the magical firebird, who lures him deep in the forest in search of forgetfulness.

Patricia McKillip spins out a fairy tale for adults, on the universal and ancient theme of love, loss, redemption, and recovery. Based upon the Russian legend of the Firebird, and In the Forests of Serre transports readers into a dream world, inhabited by “trolls and magic stags, ogres, water sprites, hermits, wood-witches’, and a horrific monster. Hearts figure prominently in the tale, lost and found and lost again. As in all good tales of this sort, the fantasy becomes real and the pages fly by.

Lyrical, beautifully written, and highly recommended.

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