Blade of Fortriu

Written by Juliet Marillier
Review by Andrea Connell

Bridei has been King of Fortriu for five years, and his people have known great contentment. He decides it is now time for him to drive the Gaelic invaders from the land. As part of his battle strategy, Bridei arranges for the court hostage, Princess Anna of the Light Isles, to wed the Caitt chieftain, Alpin of Briar Wood, to secure his allegiance. This is not an easy decision, for Anna has become quite dear to Bridei and Tuala. But Anna, who knows she is a political pawn in this game, accepts that she has no choice. She is secretly sent off to Briar Wood under the care of Faolan, the King’s assassin and spy. The two dislike each other at the beginning of this ill-fated journey, but their relationship evolves and becomes very complicated by the time they reach their destination. Once there, Anna resigns herself to wedding a man who she finds offensive and repulsive…until she meets Alpin’s mysterious imprisoned brother, Drustan. To say any more would be to give away the plot, and I want you to have the joy of discovering the rest yourself!

Blade of Fortriu is a captivating and enchanting read, as was the first book of this trilogy, The Dark Mirror. The story continues the romance of Bridei and Tuala, but the focus is on the intense relationship triangle between Anna, Drustan, and Faolan and on their personal quests for survival. The humanity of Broichan and Faolan is highlighted through their trials – they are not as cold and heartless as they seemed to be in The Dark Mirror. This second book in the Bridei Chronicles is a page turner and a wonderful addition to the author’s list of excellent fantasies.