Saba’s Choices: Mother Lake
Mother Lake (Saba’s Choices Book 1) by Haidee Belshaw is a well-written novel set in the north of Ireland during the Bronze Age. The book is most impressive with its feast of ancient mythology and features a large variety of cultures with their unique rituals, beliefs and ceremonies. Well explained and backed up with maps, a glossary and a long bibliography, the reader feels in safe and competent hands. I was in awe of the meticulous detail and impressive scene setting.
Our heroine, Saba, is a shaman and as such has supernatural gifts: psychic powers, premonitions, guidance from dreams, intuition and even shape shifters and nymphs influence the plot. They also have hold over Saba and the choices that she makes. Some of those are wildly illogical, such as engaging in consensual but forbidden sex right after a rape scene and it is those moments that might make it difficult for some to engage with Saba as a character.
This caveat aside, the plot concerning her role within her village and the politics between tribes and villages is intriguing, as are many of the side characters. This is only the first part of two and much remains unresolved (which will probably explain more about Saba and her choices and put my earlier point into perspective).
Unlike any other book I have read, this is clearly a labour of love and I would recommend it to fans of ancient history, mythology and even fantasy.