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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cecelia Holland's tenth-century saga, 13 Oct. 2009
D. Walter "D. Walter" (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The High City (Hardcover)
I first came across several of the seminal historical novels Cecelia Holland wrote in the 1970s in a public library in a provincial South African town in the early 1980s, and they opened my eyes to the past in a way that no other writer had been able to do at the time, and very few have done since. Rediscovering her more recent output in the last couple of years has been a real pleasure.

Cecelia Holland's recent series of loosely-interconnected novels following the adventures of Corban Loosestrife and his son, Conn, and nephew, Raef ("The Soul Thief", "The Witches' Kitchen", "The Serpent Dreamer", "Varanger", and "The High City") have been particularly enthralling, and I would thoroughly recommend them. Interesting for their evocative historical settings, the novels also include an intriguing fantastical element, which is perhaps most evident in the first three volumes, after which it becomes increasingly subtle and elusive as Cecelia Holland cleverly mimics in her writing the drift from magic into history evident in the series itself as her protagonists find themselves increasingly entrapped in the affairs of men and kings. In "The High City", for instance, mention is made of "the Irish wizard Corban Loosestrife, who kept a ship in his pocket, and spoke to animals", whereas anyone having read the previous volumes will know this is itself a mythification of what has gone before in the series.

It was my understanding that the 'Corban Loosestrife' series was originally intended to end with "The High City". Personally, I'm hoping for at least one further volume. Having finished "The High City", it seems to me that there is still plenty of scope for following Raef's journey further as he returns to pursue his destiny in the west. Four stars for "The High City"; five stars for the series overall.
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The High City
The High City by Cecelia Holland (Hardcover - 3 Feb. 2009)
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