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Foxmask
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2004
I didn't think any other book could rival "Daughter of the forest" in its tale of love and torn loyalties. I am happy to say I was wrong. "Foxmask" follows on from "Wolfskin" as Creidhe, Eyvind and Nessa's daughter, stows away on a voyage through uncharted waters in order to follow her friend Thorvald in his search for his father. Creidhe longs for Thorvald to notice her as a woman as well as a friend but this act of friendship will cost her dear. In the search for Thorvald's father they discover some romote islands. Forced to put ashore by a terrible storm they encounter the long knife people, suspicious of incomers and as romote as the islands themselves. With Sam, the fisherman, they accept the grudging hospitality offered, little knowing what the tribe has in mind for Creidhe, for the long knife people are at war with the fearful Unspoken people and suffer under a curse.
Marillier has an easy, engaging style and has managed to perfect the blend of supernatural, historical and just plain good and ordinary. This is a story about tested loyalties; how doing the right thing can also be wrong; how difficult it is to know the difference. Most of all it is a tale of growing up and finding out that what you thought you wanted was not what you wanted at all. I recomend this to everyone who enjoyed the Sevenwaters tilogy, to those who love a supernatural twist or an eerie yarn, or, if I'm honest, anyone who wants a darn good read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 January 2006
Once I realised that this book was more a fantasy than a straight tale about the Norse men, I settled into the story and thoroughly enjoyed it. The authoress weaves a good tale, although a little predictable at times.
At 18 years old a young man is told by his mother that his real father was the murderer of the man he had always thought to be his father, worse than that, the two men were actually brothers.
This news alienates the young man Thorvald from his mother and after seeking information from various people, he finds out that his real father was banished from the island where they live and it is a possibility that he may still alive. He is determined to try to find his father and seeks the help of his friend Sam, an accomplished sailor who owns his own boat. Another of his friends Creidhe, a young woman who dotes on Thorvald guesses what the two young men are planning and determines to stow away on the boat and keep the pair of them free from trouble.
There journey takes them north away from the Orkneys, until a storm drives them onto a foreign shore. What takes place after that is life changing for all three of them. Will Thorvald find his father on this island far north of his own home. What other twists and turns are in store for the three friends? That I think is for the reader to find out for themselves.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Foxmask is the second book in the Children of the Light Isles duet. The first book, Wolfskin, told the story of Eyvind and Somerled, their oath of blood brotherhood, and the Viking colonisation of Orkney, or the Light Isles as the natives called it.
This second book focuses mainly on Thorvald, son of Margaret and Somerled, and Creidhe, daughter of Nessa and Eyvind. Other characters, both new and old, make their appearances. Thorvald finds out about his true father at his coming of age. He is shocked and disgusted, assuming he must also be as twisted as his exiled father because he does share many things with the stories he has heard of Somerled. He sets out on a voyage to find his father, wanting to know the truth. He travels with his friends Sam and Creidhe to the most likely landfall the exiled Somerled may have reached ...
One of my criticisms of Wolfskin was that the two lead characters, Eyvind and Nessa, were not as appealing to me as the villain and a minor character, Somerled and Margaret. This is both rectified and worsened in Foxmask. Thorvald is a very interesting character; a loner, unable to fit in because his intelligence is greater than those around him and he is unsure when dealing with other people. He yearns to be a leader, to prove himself after finding he is not who he thought he was. He is tormented by the knowledge that his real father was the evil Somerled, not the honourable Ulf as he had believed all his life. He shows flashes of light and dark, and he could easily follow his father's path into tyranny or find a nobler way. He knows this.
Creidhe, to be honest I found her about the same as Eyvind or Nessa: alright, but nothing too interesting. The same applies to Keeper; for all his strange quirks he just did not really grab my interest or sympathy. Sam is something of a minor character, and not too interesting to me.
Niall is a fascinating character; I shall say little about him or I would give away far too much. Suffice it to say he demonstrates some incredible character growth and says a hell of a lot of interest. He is a deep character; even his name has meaning if you read the first book and remember a certain story told near the start ...
I found this book most interesting when revisiting old characters. Margaret's sections of the book in particular shone for me, as I loved her in the first book. I found myself eagerly advancing to find her next section, though they are all too limited in number. Fans of Nessa and Eyvind will be pleased to see them return, although my opinion of them remained unchanged.
Plot wise I preferred the first book. This is a preference of subject matter though; this second book is far heavier on the fantasy elements than the first, which almost read like a straight up historical novel. Magic, mystical creatures, seers, unnatural phenomenon, priestesses all feature quite heavily in this book - the plot is built around them. Like the first book these fantasy elements do lend a certain feeling of kinship to the old Norse sagas, but I am afraid a tale about recovering a seer is not as compelling to me as a tale of humans and their flaws.
Wolfskin was quite rare in that it made me feel some emotion as I read, and forged strong links between myself and two characters (yes, you guessed - Margaret and Somerled). Foxmask does manage to repeat this achievement, but to a lesser extent. It builds on what I already had from the first book; I did not find any bond to the new characters, and the few responses it drew from me were once again provided by Margaret and the little titbits about Somerled.
This said, I did find the book well worth reading. As I mentioned before the original characters are met once again, and you can not only see what happened to them after the close of Wolfskin but also find new insight into the events of the previous book. This is one reason why I loved Margaret's sections so much; I understood so much more of what makes her tick as a character, and this made me think again on what she had done in Wolfskin. There is another who alone makes the book worth reading for insight, but I shall not say any more as it would spoil some very nice plotting. You will know when you read. Thorvald also provides a nice insight by contrast of Somerled; two different yet similar people struggling with what they are. As you read his comments to himself you find they also apply perfectly to Somerled, explaining things you had previously only suspected. Having finished this book I am now going back to Wolfskin, which I only finished four days ago, to re-read it with my new knowledge.
Marillier is a strong writer; her work is always easy, and pleasant, to read. However with Foxmask I felt the first hundred or so pages seemed ever so slightly out of stride, almost as if the author needed a little space to settle in. That is not to say the beginning is painful or shoddy, only that it is fractionally below the usual standard. Once the rough spot finishes the writing resumes its customary polish and never lets it go. The ending did seem a little hurried, perhaps, but nothing too bad.
As you may have guessed I recommend this book is read in concert with its partner. The experience will be much more rewarding this way, I think. Reading Foxmask first will also spoil much of Wolfskin, because you will know in advance all those insights and details, the fates and the outcomes which Foxmask so deliciously provides. I do recommend the duet quite highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Once I realised that this book was more a fantasy than a straight tale about the Norse men, I settled into the story and thoroughly enjoyed it. The authoress weaves a good tale, although a little predictable at times.

At 18 years old a young man is told by his mother that his real father was the murderer of the man he had always thought to be his father, worse than that, the two men were actually brothers.

This news alienates the young man Thorvald from his mother and after seeking information from various people, he finds out that his real father was banished from the island where they live and it is a possibility that he may still alive. He is determined to try to find his father and seeks the help of his friend Sam, an accomplished sailor who owns his own boat. Another of his friends Creidhe, a young woman who dotes on Thorvald guesses what the two young men are planning and determines to stow away on the boat and keep the pair of them free from trouble.

There journey takes them north away from the Orkneys, until a storm drives them onto a foreign shore. What takes place after that is life changing for all three of them. Will Thorvald find his father on this island far north of his own home. What other twists and turns are in store for the three friends? That I think is for the reader to find out for themselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Once I realised that this book was more a fantasy than a straight tale about the Norse men, I settled into the story and thoroughly enjoyed it. The authoress weaves a good tale, although a little predictable at times.

At 18 years old a young man is told by his mother that his real father was the murderer of the man he had always thought to be his father, worse than that, the two men were actually brothers.

This news alienates the young man Thorvald from his mother and after seeking information from various people, he finds out that his real father was banished from the island where they live and it is a possibility that he may still alive. He is determined to try to find his father and seeks the help of his friend Sam, an accomplished sailor who owns his own boat. Another of his friends Creidhe, a young woman who dotes on Thorvald guesses what the two young men are planning and determines to stow away on the boat and keep the pair of them free from trouble.

There journey takes them north away from the Orkneys, until a storm drives them onto a foreign shore. What takes place after that is life changing for all three of them. Will Thorvald find his father on this island far north of his own home. What other twists and turns are in store for the three friends? That I think is for the reader to find out for themselves.
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on 11 December 2007
Set about 17 years after Wolfskin, Foxmask follows Nessa and Eyvind's daughter Creidhe and Margaret's son by Somerled, Thorvald. Thorvald believes his father to be Ulf, his mothers dead husband, so it comes as quite a shock when she finally tells him the truth. It was in fact Somerled who had killed his brother Ulf and been bannished from the Light Isles. He plans to go in search of Somerled with his friend Sam who is a fisherman with his own boat. Creidhe is in love with Thorvald who sees her only as a friend and she stows away in the boat secretly when they leave.

They sail to The Lost Isles which are ruled by Asgrim in a war with the Unspoken. One of the Asgrims tribe stole the Unspokens seer Foxmask and in punnishment the Unspoken sing away the souls of all the newborn babies before they see their second sunrise. Foxmask is being held captive on the Isle of Clouds protected by The Fools Tide which is only passable once a year during The Hunt. The tribes lose many men in The Hunt every year, but it is their only option until Thorvald, Sam and Credhe arrive to change everything.

Each of the three changes in the Isles. Sam finds a new hardness, Thorvald a father and respect from the islanders and Credhe completes her Journey and finds a love she never imagined. I loved this novel, it reminded me how much I love this author. Creidhe was my favourite character, I loved the idea of her embroidery and the many stories it encompassed. It was filled with magic, love, loss and cruelty. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2012
This book follows on from Wolfskin and in my opinion is better. Juliet is my favorite author, her books never fail to draw the reader into a world of honor, love, intrigue and mysticism. The stories she tells are always very well written her writing is magical. Foxmask is a wonderful book so moving in parts it takes your breath away, i can't believe only one review has been written about it.
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on 21 November 2013
Having really enjoyed the Sevenwaters books, and been able to just get lost in that world while I was reading I was looking forward to this book. The crafting and skill in writing and story telling is just as powerful as in the Sevenwaters series - however the story line did not engage me in the same way. An OK read.
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on 27 May 2014
so glad to have found an author that gives different stories for each and every book she writes, not just a re-hash of the same story. I love the follow through with different generations. this is the 10th book by this author I have read and I can't wait to read more
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on 1 April 2013
I really enjoy books written by this author, who is a Druid herself. if you enjoy the Pagan side of things, you'll love this one. Based ib Alba, it's a rollocking good read of comradeship, treachery and a fine sprinkling of romance. I'd recommend this book.
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