A fantasy novel set during the reign of King John, Brightfall is told through the eyes of Marian: a strong and feisty wife, lover, mother and witch. Robin Hood has renounced her, and now spends his days in seclusion in a monastery repenting for his sins, although no one seems to know the nature of his alleged crimes. Marion lives quietly in Sherwood Forest, bringing up their two children, until Father Tuck arrives with the news that friends from their outlaw days are dying in mysterious circumstances. Suspecting a dark curse, Marion sets out on a dangerous journey to save her own life and that of her children. Accompanied by a sullen and unwilling Robin Hood, and a powerful Fae Lord, she travels through a land inhabited by goblins, grindylows and dragons. Marion’s magic is good and pure, drawn from nature and her own strength of will, but she quickly realises there are much darker forces are at work in the greenwood.
Moyer has created some memorable characters here, particularly the ancient Fae Lord, nicknamed Bert, who shape-shifts at will, altering both his appearance and his character with dizzying finesse. To counterbalance Bert’s mesmerising magic, Marion’s broken relationship with Robin often feels poignantly and painfully real. If you are someone who believes no story is complete without at least one wise and scaly dragon, then this is the book for you.