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Daughter of the Forest (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 1) Hardcover – May 5, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 549 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Sevenwaters Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

At the heart of this surprisingly accomplished first novel, first book of the Sevenwaters trilogy, is a retelling of an ancient Celtic legend. Marillier's story, however, is much more than a slightly disguised fairy tale. Young Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Irish Lord Colum of Sevenwaters, a domain well protected from invading Saxons and Britons by dense forest where, legend says, fey Deirdre, the Lady of the Forest, walks the woodland paths at night. Colum is first and foremost a warrior, bent on maintaining his lands against all outsiders. Not all of his sons are so bound to the old ways, and that family friction leads to outright disobedience when Sorcha and her brother Finbar help a Briton captive escape from Colum's dungeon. Soon after, Colum brings home a new wife who ensorcels everyone she can't otherwise manipulate. By her spell Sorcha's brothers are cursed to become swans. Only Sorcha, hiding deep in the forest, can break the spell by painfully weaving shirts of starwort nettle--but then Sorcha is captured by Britons and taken away across the sea. Determined to break the curse despite her captivity, Sorcha continues to work, little expecting that ultimately she will have to chose between saving her brothers and protecting the Briton lord who has defended her throughout her trials. Marillier's writing is deft and heartfelt, bypassing the usual bombast of fantasy fireworks for a rich, magical story of loyalty and love. --Charlene Brusso

From Library Journal

As the only daughter and youngest child of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters, Sorcha grows up protected and pampered by her six older brothers. When a sorceress's evil magic ensorcels Colum's sons, transforming them into swans, only Sorcha's efforts can break the curse. Marillier's first novel uses a familiar Celtic legend to tell the story of a young woman's sacrifice for the sake of those she loves and her own discovery of unexpected joy in the midst of sorrow. The author's keen understanding of Celtic paganism and early Irish Christianity adds texture to a rich and vibrant novel that belongs in most fantasy collections.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 1 (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (May 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031284879X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312848798
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (549 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I must admit that I bought the book simply because of my interest in how authors of today handle the retelling of myths and fairytales - I'm SO glad I did! The tale this is based on (The Six Swans) has been one of my favourites since I was a girl because of the elements of transformation magic and the power of love & loyalty. Marillier handles these elements admirably, drawing you into a believable Celtic world where people struggle against people, the old world magic struggles with a new age of religion and a girl-woman journeys determindly through the terrifying obstacles to discover the truth and power of sacrifice, loyalty, family and finally love.
My only negative comment (I wish my rating could be 4 1/2 stars instead of just 4) would be that the author tends to digress at times into a narrative of descriptive thought and reflection that, while mostly interesting, do tend to interrupt the flow of story. I felt the adventure and suspense suffered a little as a result.
Nevertheless, the youngest sister, Sorcha, whose point of view the story is told from, is a strongly real person in the midst of a compelling fantasy setting. At times, I found the writing drew me in so well I felt I should be as silent as she had to be.
Being written less about the magic and more about the people, I happily followed the characters beyond the end of the fairytale to continue their story. Because my initial interest was in the treatment of the fairytale itself, I did not expect to want to read more than the first book. Instead I will be adding the sequel to my bookshelf as soon as it appears. All in all, this book was worth every cent and also happens to be one of the best 'firsts' I have ever read. If this is only her first novel then we are in for some wonderful books in the future!
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Format: Hardcover
I have been reading the reviews for Ms. Marillier's book and I am astounded by the number of people who have made criticisms about the lack of historicity and adherence to mythology. The author doesn't claim to be writing an historical work or recounting the narrative of a familiar myth; Ms. Marillier is writing a new story in which she borrows elements of history and myth in order to give her readers something new and exciting. And I think she has delivered this, with great success. I began the book with great expectations which were fulfilled and satisfied and surpassed in every way. (Actually, I lie. I was extremely disappointed when reaching the end, sometime around 5am in the morning, to discover that Lady Oonagh did not get her just desserts. I wrote to Ms. Marillier immediately and she informed me I would have to wait until the third instalment for that particular satisfaction.) I would like to congratulate Ms. Marillier on an entertaining, enthralling, imaginative and captivating novel. I am eagerly anticipating the 2nd instalment, which to my joy, I discovered is only a few weeks away now. Its been a long and agonising wait.
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By Lisa on April 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Congratulations, Juliet. For anyone out there who is interested in Celtic folklore, strong female characters or fabulous love stories, this is a wonderful novel to put on your "to read" list. Marillier has created Sorcha, a heroine who is strong, determined and steadfast. She suffers a great deal throughout this novel, and reading of her trials and disappointments is not for the weak of heart. I found myself crying often throughout the book, in outrage, sadness and in joy. The novel lacks some polish in its language at points, and there is little suspense, but its strengh is in the reader's strong identification with Sorcha throughout. She is condemned to silence throughout most of the book and the power of her story is such that the reader feels the need to be silent also, so as to help carry her burden. I can't wait until the next book in this series is published.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Since my childhood, I have always loved a good fairy tale and this Celtic-themed fantasy is a real winner - for both teens and adults alike. Juliet Marillier's "Daughter of the Forest" is loosely based on versions of Hans Christian Andersen's, (and the Brothers' Grimm), tale of six brothers who are placed under an evil spell and transformed into wild birds, and their sister who, under great hardship, must save them.

Lovely Sorcha should have been born the seventh son of a seventh son. But she was born a daughter, with six older brothers. Sorcha's mother died at her birth, leaving behind words of love for all her children. Lord Colum of Sevenwaters, the children's father, lost much of his joyous spirit with his wife's death and changed drastically in the ensuing years. He focused his energies on war rather than family and kept his emotions in tight rein. Colum spent much of his time patrolling his extensive landholdings to protect his forest properties and Ireland's borders from outsiders - the Britons, Picts and Vikings. He also spent time planning for war against the British, his primary enemy. The British had stolen three sacred Isles, holy to the Old Religion and central to its practice. At any and all cost, the islands must be won back. Colum's oldest sons, Liam, Diarmid, Cormack and Padriac were trained in arms and fighting and accompanied their father on his missions and strategy sessions. Conor, Cormack's twin was plainly not destined to be a warrior. He was a scholar, interested in Druid teachings, and took on the duties of the house steward. Finbar, to his father's despair, was not a fighter either - he was a man of peace.
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