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From the Ashes [Paperback]

Meghan Brunner

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Book Description

19 Jun 2002
An urban fantasy tale of two women who overcome heartbreak, history, and the Shadow Fae to find happiness, themselves, and each other against the Magickal backdrop of Pendragon Renaissance Faire.

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About the Author

A veteran rennie, Meghan has been telling storiesfor as long as she's been able to talk ans will continue doing so until thereis no sky left to hear them.¿ She haslong experience at privy reveling and potato peeling and is a proud member ofthe coin brigade.¿ As to everything else-- including a certain strange delight in referring to herself in the thirdperson -- she pleads the fifth.The author may be contacted through her website athttp://www.faire-folk.com

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tour de Force about Renaissance Festivals and Romance 27 Jun 2003
By Lori L. Lake - Published on Amazon.com
Ryna Tully is a "Road Rennie," one of the talented folks who entertain at Renaissance Festivals, and she's been doing it all her life. She has red hair, is literally and figuratively hot-headed, and is still hurting from a breakup with Liam, a dashing character from the Village Militia. Ryna isn't looking forward to running into Liam over the next seven weeks at the Pendragon Festival, and she is in a foul mood at the beginning of the book.

Bea Saunders' brother Daniel has finally talked her into assuming a role at the Ren-Fest. The kind-hearted Bea becomes Phoenix, an exceedingly cranky old herb-witch who, over the course of the book, develops a suitably caustic and funny way of dealing with the Festival patrons. Liam sets his sights on Bea, and she is flattered, but as the story goes on, it's not Liam she becomes emotionally entangled with but Ryna.

So, at heart, this novel is a romance, but it is also oh-so-much-more. The book is immense, and every page is packed full of colorful characters, the hustle-bustle of the crowds, and all the wit and humor found at a Renaissance Festival. Seen mostly through Ryna's and Bea's different perspectives (with some flashbacks to the 1500s), the story unfolds at a pace in keeping with the best stories of old. I am reminded of all the interconnectedness of an Austen novel, the breadth and scope of Dickens' work, and the wit of The Canterbury Tales.

Ultimately, Ryna and Bea's relationship is central, but there are so many sub-plots running throughout the novel that many of characters become dear to the reader's heart (mine being the gender-reversed Robyn Hood & The Merry Maids who count one lone male, Lord Marion, as a member. They get into a lot of funny scrapes.)

The book truly is a tour-de-force about the Renaissance Faire traditions. From the Ashes contains a wonderful mixture of the Gypsy, Irish, Italian, and English characters we associate with the Olde World: Knights, Lords, and Ladies, peasants and witches, fairies and rogues, minstrels, fortunetellers, a little bit of Magick, and Harvey, the Privy Monster. To keep us on track, the author has provided a glossary of the peculiar lingo that the Rennies use as well as a character listing.

If you enjoy Ren-Fests, King Arthur, Robin Hood, or stories about Merry Olde England, or if you ever wanted to be a part of a benevolent group working toward an entertaining and rollicking common cause, this book's for you. I highly recommend it.
~Lori L. Lake...
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing 22 Feb 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This is a wonderful book that reminds me of one of my favorite Renaissance Festivals. It's quite uplifting. When I'm having a bad day, all I have to do is open the pages to laugh along with Ryna and Bea, and all of the other life-like characters of the Renaissance Festival family. The concerns of the characters are real and down to earth. It's quite easy for the reader to identify with many of them. This book presents a side of Rennydom that most patrons never even know exists, aside from wild stories that they hear passed on by urban legend. The book lets the imagination soar with how life could (should) be with just a bit of Magick.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Book 14 Oct 2004
By Josh Aterovis - Published on Amazon.com
The magic of Renaissance faires is that, for a few weekends a year, you can visit times far past and lose yourself in the world of the rennies, the people who become the peasants, nobles, gypsies and thieves populating the medieval villages. There's plenty of that magic in Meghan Brunner's From the Ashes. There's also plenty of real Magick.

Ryna is a gypsy, as unlucky in love as she is talented in music. Her fiery red hair matches her temper. She grew up in Renaissance faires, and her family is a group of gypsies that travels year-round as full-time rennies. She takes the magic--and the Magick--that surrounds her almost for granted. She's recently had her heart broken by the dashing, yet sinister, Liam.

It's Bea's first year at the Pendragon Renaissance Faire and everything is still novel and wondrous for her. While Bea is still a newbie, her character Phoenix is already fitting in as if she'd always been there. When Ryna and Bea meet, it's as if they've known each other forever. The two quickly form a close friendship, and Ryna begins to see the faire--and life-through new eyes.

Someone isn't happy about their burgeoning relationship, however, and dark forces are being drawn into play to keep them apart--forces that have been at work for longer than anyone could possibly suspect.

From the Ashes is Brunner's first novel, and it's an impressive debut. Brunner self-published the massive doorstop of a book, but don't let that intimidate you. While she could have benefited from a good editor in places, her spirited writing draws you in and surpasses any flaws. Her descriptions are priceless, bringing the world of the faire alive even if you've never been to one before. I laughed out loud over and over at the antics of the peasants. Her depictions of everyday life in the faire were the highlights of the book for me. It made me eager to attend a Renaissance faire.

I also enjoyed her use of Magick, which is such a part of the character's everyday life that they barely think about it. They use their gifts to do things like lock doors after they're already in bed and open doors when their arms are full. This approach gave the supernatural elements a much more realistic feel. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys magical realism and good, hearty sheep jokes.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly crafted urban fantasy. 5 Feb 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
From the Ashes is the kind of book that makes you want to go out and find the charecters and places in it when you have finished reading it. Everything is so real, so alive, you can't help but want to seek it out for yourself. Pendragon Faire offers more magick and adventure than you could ever expect in a few short weekends. The peasants kept me laughing, and the gypsies made me want to hit the road as a full-time rennie. The author shows a maturity that I find lacking in most books in the genre, I can't wait for the next one.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will open new doors... 4 Feb 2003
By Jeff Behrends - Published on Amazon.com
From The Ashes is a fabulous book. It is set in a present day Rennaissance Festival environment with interlude flashbacks to late 1500s England. As the story unfolds, the author creates a believable, realistic world where magick is commonly used--by those who know where to look. This world, backstage of the Pendragon RenFaire, runs side-by-side with the mundane world of patrons and commerce. The characters are well-written, each with personal weaknesses to deal with and strengths they must learn to use, and the relationships formed are believable.
The book opens new doors in literary courage. The primary romantic relationship is between two women, though it is not a book about homosexuality. Much of the story is the development of this relationship, but it is not a romance or a love story. All the main characters use magick, but it is not a fantasy story, nor is it about witchcraft. There are many struggles and battles, but it is not about action.
Simply put, it is a fresh look, incorporating many previously successful ideas, but putting a new face on them. It may even be a new genre.
...I eagerly await Book II.
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