Sisters at the Edge of the World

Written by Ailish Sinclair
Review by J. Lynn Else

Northern Scotland in the 1st century is on the cusp of great change. Inhabited by the spirit of a god and a goddess, two people meet: a daughter of the Taezali and a son of Mars. They should be enemies, but they share a night before returning to their mortal lives. The daughter, Morragh, keeps the old ways for her people and serves as a spiritual leader. The son, “Guy-us,” is a spy for the Romans invading her land. As the Roman army marches towards the Caledonian tribes, Morragh seeks a way to bring peace. The old ways are being forgotten, and new gods are encroaching on the land. Culminating with the Battle of Mons Graupius, Sinclair has penned a tale of love, sacrifice, and changing times that tugs at the heart strings.

In the vein of Lucy Holland’s Sistersong with the narrative style of Rena Rossner’s The Sisters of the Winter Wood, Sinclair’s novel centers on two sisters and is told from Morragh’s point of view. The prose is deeply personal to Morragh’s struggles. She loves the land, her connection to the gods, and her people, which lends a positive and somewhat innocent slant to her narrative voice while everything around her is in upheaval. She can see glimpses of what’s to come and is pivotal in attempting to unite the tribes against the Romans, despite the fact she knows so many of those gathered will never return to their homes. Choices and their consequences are a constant driving force of the plot. The setting is ethereal and spellbinding as our main characters walk a fine line between what has been and what is to come. A beautiful tale of ancient wonders and kindred souls.