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Firebrand (Rebel Angel Series) [Kindle Edition]

Gillian Philip
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $7.99
Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

At the end of the sixteenth century, religious upheaval brings fear, superstition, and doubt to the lives of mortals. Yet unbeknownst to them, another world lies just beyond the Veil: the realm of the Sithe, a fierce and beautiful people for whom a full-mortal life is but the blink of an eye. The Veil protects and hides their world…but it is fraying at the edges, and not all think it should be repaired.

Discarded by his mother and ignored by his father, sixteen-year-old Seth MacGregor has grown up half wild in his father's fortress, with only his idolized older brother, Conal, for family. When Conal quarrels with the Sithe queen and is forced into exile in the full-mortal world, Seth volunteers to go with him.

But life beyond the Veil is even more dangerous than they expected, and Seth and Conal soon find themselves embroiled in a witch-hunt--in which they are the quarry. Trapped between the queen's machinations at home and the superstitious violence of the otherworld, Seth must act before both of them are fed to the witch-hunters' fires…

Brimming with intrigue and rebellion, Firebrand is the first book in the Rebel Angels series by Gillian Philip, the Carnegie Medal-nominated author of Crossing the Line and multi-award-nominated Bad Faith.

Editorial Reviews


"Once a year, a new novelist really blows me away. Last year it was Suzanne Collins with The Hunger Games…. This year it's Gillian Philip's Firebrand…. A fantastically violent, utterly thrilling tale.... Firebrand is one of the very best...Philip’s clear prose is as fiery as whiskey…. The best fantasy novel of 2010."
The Sunday Times

"Philip has created an utterly believable other world, where male and female are equals in arms. It is often stark and brutal but with moments of heartbreaking beauty."
The Guardian

About the Author

GILLIAN PHILIP was born in Glasgow, lived for twelve years in Barbados, and now lives in the north of Scotland with her husband, twin children, three dogs, two sociopathic cats, a slayer hamster, three chickens, and a lot of nervous fish.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1177 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reissue edition (February 19, 2013)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AEC9JI8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,914 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Bleak Fantasy December 2, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Headstrong Seth MacGregor, bastard scion of a great Sithe captain, and his idolized brother Conal have come into inheritance of their father's fortress. But the Sithe queen, Kate NicNevin, has strange ambitions that extend beyond her domain. When the brothers MacGregor cross their queen, they find themselves exiled to a land more strange and savage than anything their undying eyes have ever seen: Scotland.

Gillian Philip's first novel, published in Britain in 2010 and now making its American debut, reverses the expectations of urban fantasy. Instead of the fantastic intruding on ordinary life, the banalities of human life intrude on the Sithe (pronounced "Shee"). By changing the direction of the portal, beloved of writers like CS Lewis and Madeline L'Engle, Philip creates a fantasy world not vast and prodigious, but cramped and limiting.

Because they are long-lived, Philip's Sithe rely on politics and trust in a way humans cannot. They have built a long-standing and elaborate system of mutual debts that keeps their people stable, if feudal. But it also keeps them completely unprepared for contact with humans, who think in what they consider short terms, and who die so easily and love so little. These Sithe are not the fae and sprites of myth, but very human, and shackled with human limits.

Philip's otherworldly domain is at once innately Scottish and historical, and modern and transnational. Because her setting is specific, and not some ill-defined fairyland where everything is vague and equal, her words convey more power, and her ideas resonate across cultures. Her use of specific terminology of the Scottish Reformation gives her setting a concrete structure that is truly universal.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Fantasy May 15, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Two worlds separated by a magical Veil collide in a dazzling mix of fantasy and dark ages, where demonic fairies impersonate priests who burn "witches" to sate their blood lust, where witch queens rule immortals through threat of death or banishment, and where a young boy filled with anger and hate wants only to be feared and respected.

Seth MacGregor is rejected by his mother, a powerful witch, and ignored by his father, a lord of a small village. His only friend, although not at first, is his half brother Conal. The same Conal in the opening pages of this book is about to be burned at the stake if Seth doesn't put him out of his misery first with a well placed crossbow shot.

Without giving anything away this is the story of Seth and Conal and their growth and impending conflict with the forces of darkness in the real world (16th Century Brittish Isles,) and in their land beyond the Veil. There is political manuevering, battles, magic, war, court intrigue, love - everything a good fantasy novel should have. And Gillian Philip does it well.

From start to finish I was hooked by this story and by this broken young boy who we all know is so much more than we find him. This is only the first book in the series and I'm in line to get the next two. It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a fantasy author's creation this much.

I highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By TSSmith
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sithe Queen Kate NicNiven thinks the Veil that separates the long-living Sithe's world from the full-mortals' world is failing, and wants to destroy the Veil now, while she thinks the balance of power is in her favor. Clann Chief Griogair MacGregor and his witch wife, Leonora, think the Veil can still be saved and should not be destroyed because it serves a purpose.

Seth MacGregor is Griogair's half-feral son by another woman named Lilith, who after becoming Kate's advisor, sends Seth back to Griogair, because she thinks of Seth as a growing embarrassment.

Ignored initially by almost everyone in Griogair's dun, including Griogair himself, Seth keeps to himself until Conal, his much older half-brother and Griogair's first-born by Leonora, arrives back at the dun after completing an assignment with another clann. Conal takes Seth under his wing, teaching Seth how to ride a horse, use a crossbow and a sword, control his anger, and hone his ability to read minds and block others from reading his.

Conal is soon called to Kate's service as one of her Captains. In Conal's absence, Griogair is ambushed and killed. Kate allows Conal to take his father's place as his clann's Chief with conditions, later claiming that Conal has displeased her and exiles him to the full-mortals' world as punishment, the first of many acts of cruelty that Kate will inflict upon Conal and Seth for no apparent reason other than she can. Near the novel's ending, Queen Kate's megalomania is on full display, and after enduring so many of Kate's acts of cruelty on them for the safety of their clann, Conal and Seth decide that enough is enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely November 30, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"A heart can only break so many times. I'm not saying it fails entirely; just that it mends the wrong way. It warps. It's stitched together loose and askew and it doesn't work as it should."

This book was amazing. The characters are well presented. They are almost artistically rendered. There is depth and so much hard hitting emotion. The relationship between Conal and Seth was so touching, so fun to read about. It really makes you think about your own family and relationships. It's beautiful. The focus was mostly on the brothers but the other characters did not suffer for it.

The narrative style was clean, simple, but eloquent. The quote above is from one of the first few chapters, simple but elegant. It really stuck with me.

The plot does not lack, it is interesting. I was hooked from the start and just could not put the book down until I'd finished it. Then I finished it and wished I had put it down. I was very sad that it ended. I so enjoyed the ride.

The author did not skimp on the detail. We learn a lot about the Sithe and their world, but the author is clever enough in her writing that the overall story is not bogged down with information and the action isn't interrupted by an info dump.

I can't wait to read more books from this author, this was an amazing piece of work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars So close
Boring! This novel so completely feels like the author is saving the good stuff for later that she doesn't rely on consistency of storytelling, depth of character, or even deciding... Read more
Published 26 days ago by S. Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much darkness
Reasonably well-written, with an interesting alternate world and main characters, but one tires of the constant brutality, either physical or psychological, inflicted on the two... Read more
Published 11 months ago by S. Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing and intriguing fantasy
I found plenty to sink my teeth into when reading Firebrand, a full-textured fantasy based on Scottish mythology. Ms. Read more
Published 14 months ago by HLH
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully flawed antihero carries this gritty new fantasy series
I became absorbed in Firebrand right away, and the reason was the kick-ass prologue followed by a trip back in time that introduced me to the young Seth MacGregor and allowed me to... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jenny Q @ Let Them Read Books
4.0 out of 5 stars a very good read
I really enjoyed this book and would probably put it at 4.5 stars if I could. The only thing keeping me from 5 stars is that I found some of the plot subtleties hard to follow. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Gordon Mckinney
4.0 out of 5 stars ?
Not sure what the point of this was. Weirdly, Faerie is humankind, separated by a veil through which time is wonky. Read more
Published 19 months ago by darbycook
3.0 out of 5 stars Anybody who wants a fast paced tale is going to have to look elsewhere
Rebel Angels: Firebrand by Gillian Phillip isn't urban fantasy, as it's been labeled by some, but is more like a blending of fantasy and Celtic elements. Read more
Published 22 months ago by A Book Obsession..
3.0 out of 5 stars I wanted more Action
This book was almost one that I set aside. In fact it took me about 3 times longer to get through than any normal read. I found it a painstakingly slow read. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Krista Cubicleblindness
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairies You Can Believe In
I'm generally not much of a fan of muscular fairies in books. They're generally somewhat Legolasian (if I may coin a term), and I didn't even like him in the books. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Marian Allen
4.0 out of 5 stars Chapter by Chapter's review of Firebrand
I've been seeing some of the reviews and ratings for this book and there was mixture of love for the book, and some of indecision. Read more
Published on May 26, 2013 by MaryAnn
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More About the Author

Gillian Philip was born in 1964 in Glasgow, Scotland. She has worked as a music store assistant, wine sales rep, radio presenter, theatre usherette, barmaid, hotel wrangler, typesetter, and political assistant. She lived for twelve years in Barbados, where to avoid spending her entire life in a beach bar she took up writing seriously. In the evenings she worked as a singer in a band in an Irish bar, playing a combination of Celtic folk rock, reggae and calypso.

Her books include Crossing the Line, Bad Faith, The Opposite of Amber and the Rebel Angels series - Firebrand, Bloodstone, Wolfsbane and (coming in 2014) Icefall. She has written the Survivors series (as Erin Hunter), two Beast Quest instalments (as Adam Blade), and the Darke Academy series (as Gabriella Poole). She has toured widely in the United States as Erin Hunter, promoting the Survivors series for Harper Collins.

She has been nominated and shortlisted for awards including the Carnegie Medal, the Royal Mail Scottish Children's Book Award and the David Gemmell Legend Award.

She now lives in a beautiful valley near Dallas (the tiny one in Scotland), with husband Ian, twins Lucy and Jamie, and a fluctuating population of animals: currently Cluny the Labrador, Milo the Papillon, Otto the half-Papillon, psycho cats The Ghost and The Darkness, chickens Mapp, Lucia and Honey Boo Boo, and a lot of nervous fish.

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