The Dark Mirror

Written by Juliet Marillier
Review by Andrea Connell

Bridei is a young nobleman fostered at the home of Broichan, one of the most powerful druids in the land. His earliest memories are not of hearth and kin but of this dark stranger, who, while not unkind, is mysterious in his ways. The tasks that he sets Bridei appear to have one goal—to make him a vessel for some distant purpose. What the purpose is Bridei cannot fathom, but he trusts Broichan and is content to learn all he can from him and his tutors.

But something happens that will change Bridei’s world forever and possibly wreck Broichan’s plans: Bridei finds an infant on the doorstep on a bitter Midwinter Eve, a child seemingly abandoned by the faerie folk. It is uncommonly bad luck to have dealings with the Fair Folk, and all counsel the infant’s death. But Bridei sees an old and precious magic at work and fights to save the child. The two grow up together and as Bridei comes to manhood, he sees the shy girl, Tuala, blossom into a beautiful woman. But Broichan feels only danger and does not know if Tuala will be a key part in Bridei’s future or spell his doom.

The Dark Mirror is the first in a new series by acclaimed fantasy writer Juliet Marillier. This is an enchanting and engrossing novel, based on the life story of Bridei, son of Maelchon, who ruled the Picts from 554 AD. In the author’s note, Ms. Marillier states that the Bridei Chronicles are a blend of known history, informed guesswork, and imagination. The blending of these elements results in an atmospheric, ethereal and magical story. Highly recommended.