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Foxmask: Children of the Light Isles, Book Two Hardcover – August 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765306743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765306746
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #959,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this captivating historical fantasy, the sequel to Wolfskin (2003), Australian author Marillier sweeps the reader to Dark Age Britain's northernmost islands, where life is hard and opportunistic raiders have forced change on the peace-loving, magic-believing inhabitants. When 18-year-old Thorvald reads a letter from his unknown true father, Somerled, his world collapses. Somerled was exiled forever after slaying his chieftain brother, Ulf. Fearing that he may be subject to the same curse that afflicted his father ("I'm the son of some evil madman, a crazed killer"), Thorvald decides to search for the disgraced Somerled. He persuades his friend Sam the fisherman to transport him by boat to the island where he believes his father to be. Unbeknownst to both Sam and Thorvald, a young woman, Creidhe, stows away on the boat. Creidhe becomes a key player in the stirring events that unfold when they reach the Northern Isles. Though this artful mix of myth and magic starts out a bit slowly, the pace picks up nicely in the novel's second third and barrels onward to a rousing finish.
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* The daughter of her people's leaders, 16-year-old Creidhe is beautiful, highly skilled in midwifery and the domestic arts, completely qualified to be the perfect wife. Unfortunately, though she has loved moody Thorvald since childhood, his name isn't among those her parents suggest as suitors. And then Thorvald discovers that his father is the infamous, brutal king, Somerled. Feeling cursed to become a tyrant himself, Thorvald embarks for the distant islands in which Somerled may have resided. Creidhe stows away in his boat, which is swept off-course to the Long Knife people, childless warriors haunted by the Unspoken, possessors of powerful magic who suck the life out of newborns. Years ago the Long Knife stole priest and seer Foxmask, who anchored Unspoken society, and, until Foxmask is returned, must pay with their infants' lives. Kept from recommencing the journey with Thorvald, Creidhe slowly realizes that the Long Knife intend to give her to the Unspoken for a horrific mating ritual and to bear a new Foxmask. Crucial elements of the story then come sharply into focus: the tenuous peace between two opposing peoples in Creidhe's homeland; her friendship with a Thorvald fixated on finding his father and emerging as leader of the Long Knife; and the compelling inner call Creidhe feels to go to a deserted island whereon lie danger and destiny. Another great story full of well-developed characters from this fine fantasist. Paula Luedtke
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 43 customer reviews
Juliet Marillier has a way of describing characters and places.
Team LitPick
Although I found parts of it a little slow, I think that was because I was more interested in Creidhe's tale rather than Thorvald's tale.
Marci Twain
The characters were well developed and the story kept me wanting more.
Pat Foster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kseniya Slavsky on September 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I loved the first two volumes of the Sevenwaters series. I loved Wolfskin. Of Foxmask, I have the same opinion as I did of Child of the Prophesy - very readable, with well-portrayed characters and a good plot... but it could have been pulled together better.

One mildly disappointing surprise was the slip in the author's treatment of dialogue. I've never known her approach to be less than crisp and poignantly effective. In Foxmask, however, there were instances when a group of exhausted, dirty warriors - good folk, but simple - would be sitting around a fire. Suddenly, one would rise and pronounce a speech fit for podiums and marble halls. Declarations of love, too, seemed somewhat over-dramatized - which shadowed the fact that those scenes really were dramatic and un-trivial. Some of the more significant emotional moments seemed a tad rushed, while some of the inconsequential ones ran a little loose and lengthy.

Nonetheless, the story is still the magical, intriguing, and utterly human tale we have come to expect from this fine writer. It is steeped in history and legend. If our world's mythology had not actually held some of these tales, it very easily could have. Nothing here feels foreign or forbidding.

For those who liked Wolfskin, I will say that the story of Eyvind and Somerled is, indeed, continued and concluded to perfect satisfaction. However, the main focus is on Eyvind's and Nessa's daughter, Creidhe, who follows Margaret's son across the sea, to the Lost Isles, where Somerled might, or might not, have ended his journey. There is quite a complicated web, here, of friendship, abandonment, mislaid trust, dangerous assumptions, ambition, and love. It is impossible to predict, from the first, the pattern of the story. Like life, it takes wholly un-looked-for twists. Because of that, the books is quite difficult to put down until you've turned the last page. I do recommend it, highly.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on August 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
At the top of the world, Norseman Eyvind met and married local Celtic seer Princess Nessa, but the couple and their loyal followers had to struggle to survive the betrayal of his best friend Somerled (see WOLFSKIN). Several years have passed since Somerled was exiled.

Widow Margaret raised her son Thorvald. He learns that his biological father was not his mother's deceased husband, but instead is the traitor Somerled. Needing to learn more about his patriarchal heritage, Thorvald goes on a quest to find his sire while wondering if he might be a murderous chip off the old block.

Sam the fisherman takes him to look for his father, but at sea both are shocked to find a stowaway, the daughter of Eyvind and Nessa, Creidhe, who loves Thorvald. When they are shipwrecked on an island beyond the known world, Asgrim, leader of the Seal People, provides hospitality to the trio. The tribe has terrible troubles as a malevolent force is killing their newborns. Everyone feels Asgrim's son caused the curse when he kidnapped the prophet the Foxmask. Believing that Asgrim is Somerled, Thorvald joins their cause not knowing what the islanders plan to do to Creidhe.

This sequel starts fast with the sea voyage, decelerates to introduce several subplots on the island of the Seal People, but then picks up speed when the various storylines converge. Thorvald is an intriguing soul struggling to find his identity. Creidhe is his key causing Thorvald to choose between his father and the young woman he loves. By moving to another locale, introducing a new tribe and the next generation, Juliet Marillier furbishes a fresh tale in her medieval Nordic world.

Harriet Klausner
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By char1077 on May 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
First off, let me say that I am a huge Marillier fan. Her two latest books (released in America) cannot be compared to her beloved Sevenwaters Trilogy because the two are very different. It can't be guaranteed that if you loved Daughter of the Forest you will loved these books and I must say, after I read Wolfskin, I was inclined to agreed with you. That book lacked what Sevenwaters had and Foxmask comes very close to but it is a neccesary for all who loved Marillier's first trilogy. I wasn't all that impressed with Wolkfskin but I loved Foxmask.

Foxmask is different. The quality of writing that so entranced me with Daughter of the Forest was somewhat lacking in Wolkfskin but is back with full-force in Foxmask. It's filmic, fun and puts you right there, caring for the characters and wishing you were there.

The character development is great. Somerled has developed into one of the best characters Marillier has ever created. He went from being dastardly, malicious and, let's face it, intriguing in Wolfskin to and outstanding, self-aware man who suffers regret and has indeed found redemption through love of his son. Creidhe is cut from the same cloth as Sorcha, especially by the end. She is realized, mature, selfless and loving and definetly a character worth exploring in (hopefully) another book to turn this into a trilogy. Thorvald was a weak point. He rarely had me caring what happened to him but that's the point, I guess.

True, there are times (very few) when you wish things would speed up or stop jumping back in time but I couldn't put the book down.

In the end I was satisfied and in a dream-like state like after a great Thanksgiving meal. There is a sense that things worked out just as they should, even if I personally would have liked it another way. I recommend this book, especially if you were disappointed with Wolfskin, it does get better, I promise.
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