Author: Michael Scott
ISBN: 0722177755 / 9780722177754
I started reading this book on the flight to Australia a few months ago, and finally finished it last weekend, having read it piecemeal.
The book tells the tale of Paedur, who has risen to the status of legend, through the ages and his work to restore the “Old Faith” against an incomer which has grown in size rapidly. Mannam, the Lord of the Dead, assigns Paedur the task of keeping the Old Faith alive through his work as a bard, telling the myths and expanding the knowledge of the old gods. As they are want to do, the gods assign Paedur a further task … a dangerous undertaking.
The author borrows from the myths of a few cultures, though the Irish seems most apparent, and creates his own world, peoples, cultures, myths, legends and religions. On reading the pantheon at the front of the book, the reader might feel overwhelmed, but as the tales unfold the names slip easily into place.
The book was written such that, although I picked it up and put it down often, the characters and the tale stuck in my mind. The action builds relatively quickly and there are several peaks, arriving at the last sequence with relative ease. You can feel yourself drift into the action and these other worlds. There was only one small quibble and that was my imagination was stifled (a smidge) by some overly descriptive passages, especially in the last few sequences, when it made the story feel a little stilted instead of racing (on a smooth track) to the end. I suspect, however, this won’t bother most readers.