Monday, March 4, 2024
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Book Review – Hag of the Hills by J.T.T. Ryder

I’m delighted to be a part of the latest Blackthorn Book Tour review of yet another good book!

About Hag of the Hills

book review – hag of the hills by j.t.t. ryderBrennus is destined from birth to become a warrior, despite his farmer’s life. But when the Hillmen kill his family and annihilate his clan, he now has the opportunity to avenge those who he loved.

Brennus must survive endless hordes of invading Hillmen and magic-wielding sidhe, aided by only a band of shifty mercenaries, and an ancient bronze sword.

Failure means his family and clan go unavenged. Victory will bring glory to Brennus and his ancestors.

Hag of the Hills is a historical fantasy novel set in 200 B.C. on the Isle of Skye, steeped in Celtic mythology and culture.

My Thoughts

Hag of the Hills is a rare achievement: a novel that makes real people with living minds out of slivers of historical evidence from a time before written records. The author is an archaeologist, and his knowledge of that hard evidence is clear throughout the book, but he has also dived in imaginatively to fill in the gaps in our knowledge and create a plausible social world. It is a world where people not only lived and died very differently – the two being permanently intertwined – but also thought very differently, interpreted the world very differently.

There are supernatural elements : the story is being recounted by the main character to a bard, and the supernatural components make sense of his story for himself and his listener. At the heart of the story are two promises – a supernatural promise to the main character that he will achieve greatness, albeit at great cost, and a human promise by the main character that he will protect a young druid woman. The working out of these two promises comes with much action, less romance than one might expect, and a great deal of learning. A really satisfying read.

Isobel Blackthorn

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