Hob has only been traveling with Molly and her caravan for a short time now, so many of the stops on their regular trek through England are new to him: the St. Germaine Monastery, for example, where the monks have made it their business to protect travelers, and Osbert's Inn, a welcome respite for weary pilgrims. Bandits target the road beyond and Molly has trained her people well in the event of an attack, but something worse than bandits is on their trail this time.
Hob felt it on the road outside the monastery. He felt it again before they were safely behind the walls at Osbert's Inn. It's an evil that thirsts for blood. A presence that weighs heavy on those sensitive enough to feel it coming. And it's hunting Hob and his new family.
Something Red is a deliciously atmospheric debut. It's quite dense, packed with detail and imagery, and much of the dialog works best sounded out as the author employs an almost old English approach (NOT Old English, but as if it's meant to be and still readily readable). But in spite of that, it does read rather more quickly than I'd expected, in part because of my own anticipation about what was coming and in part because it's the kind of tale that does grab hold and drag you along as Hob's group progress in their travels.
The story is set in a bone-chilling winter during the thirteenth century. Molly, or Queen Maeve, is an Irish exile who makes her way through England trading in remedies and music. Hob, an orphan, was discovered at priest house, having been taken in by an aging man of the cloth. Though Molly has yet to explain why she convinced the priest to relinquish the boy into her care, Hob is grateful and has learned much in the year and a half he's traveled with them. At just thirteen years of age, he's proven himself to be a good addition to their group. Also traveling with Molly are Jack Brown, a former crusader and her sometime lover, and her niece, Nemain.
Do be warned, it does take a while for something beyond looks and feelings to happen but the ride along the way is quite fun. This is the first in a trilogy, with the third installment due out Tuesday (March 31). There's a lot of character development but the reader is still left with questions about Molly/Maeve, Nemain, and Hob, particularly with respect to Molly's exile and her powers.
Something Red stands on its own - there's no crazy cliffhanger, but these characters are the kind you won't want to leave for long.
And now for the giveaway! With the trilogy rounding out so soon, I'll be binging on the series myself. I though I would share the love and give away a copy of this first book to one of you lucky readers. To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, April 13. US only please.
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