This is a review of “Son of the Shadows” by Juliet Marillier. It is the second book in The Sevenwaters Trilogy.
This novel follows Liadan, daughter of Sorcha (Daughter of the Forest). Liadan lives on the land of Sevenwaters with her big sister Niamh and her twin brother Sean. Liadan is much like her mother, and is a healer by trade. Niamh is exceedingly beautiful, and when the young neighbouring Chieftain Eamonn visits, it is expected that he will ask for her hand in marriage. Instead he asks for Liadan’s. She is is somewhat taken aback and tells him that she will give him an answer in a years time.
During his stay at Sevenwaters, Eamonn recounts the tale of a recent attack made on his men. They were set upon by a band of mercenaries led by a man known only as the Painted Man. Even though Eamonn’s life was spared, he vows revenge. During the festival of Imbolc, a young druid named Ciarán falls for Niamh, and she is taken with him in return. Soon they are embarking on a secret love affair.
Liadan comes across her sister and her lover by accident, while taking a walk in the forest. When the family finds out, they are outraged and the young couple are treated quite harshly. Ciaran is sent away and Niamh is forced to marry a Ui Niell chieftain, Fionn.
Liadan travels with Niamh to her new home. On the way back to Sevenwaters she is abducted, and brought to the camp of The Painted Man. She has been brought there because of her healing skills, they wish for her to save the life of one of their band, Evan the Smith, who has been injured in an accident. Liadan tries her best, and eventually wears down the rough exterior of the leader, The Painted Man, whom she calls Bran.
Bran and Liadan share nights of love and passion, but when he learns that she is the daughter of Hugh of Harrowfield, he sends her home immediately. Once home, Liadan discovers that she is pregnant with Bran’s child. She will not speak of her time away, and refuses to reveal the identity of her baby’s father, only saying that her pregnancy is the result of shared love and not of rape.
Sean, wishes to employ the services of The Painted Man and his band of mercenaries to aid him in his long battle with the Britons for the sacred islands. While the men hold meetings, Liadan and Niamh visit Sean’s future bride (and Eamonn’s sister) Aisling at Eamonn’s estate Sidhe Dubh. Liadan discovers that Niamh has been savagely beaten by her new husband. With the help of Bran, Liadan tries to help Niamh escape. But Eamonn and Fionn arrive at the last minute…
Did Niamh survive the escape attempt? Or is she dead and lost as Eamonn believes? And what is Bran’s true identity? Why does he baulk at the mention of Hugh of Harrowfield? Why weren’t Niamh and Ciaran allowed to be together? What of Eamonn’s jealousy over Liadan’s pregnancy and the unnamed father? And will Liadan ever get to be with her Bran?
An excellent book full of intrigue, heartache and salvation.