In this sequel to the well-received Something Red, travelling entertainers Molly, Jack, Nemain, and Hob are in 13th-century northern England at Castle Blanchefontaine. Molly is actually a mystical Irish battle queen, Nemain is her powerful granddaughter, and Jack, a former Crusader, is helping Hob learn warrior skills. They have defeated a great evil, but are asked to fight a bigger and even more dangerous supernatural enemy. The quartet must deal with many dangers, such as a nefarious noble couple, fearsome, glowing-eyed familiars, weirdly spell-bound knights, and grotesque corpses of murdered unfortunates. The fate of the world is at stake, and they may not be victorious.
This book is harsher and more violent than Something Red. While it has elements of history, mystery, and romance, they are overshadowed by the horror theme. The faint-hearted may want to sleep with the lights on after finishing this book. Still, by the end of the story Nicholas is writing evocative, poetic scenes for Nemain and Hob that are a joyful contrast to all the terror and violence that went before. Recommended with reservations.