The Sarsen Witch

Written by Eileen Kernaghan
Review by Ann Chamberlin

After having witnessed her entire family slaughtered by the invading horse-lords, young Naeri survives on her own for several years before being captured by the invaders as she attempts to steal a pig. She escapes cruel punishment at the hands of the chief when Gwi the metalsmith steps in. One of these impossibly nice guys history, at least historical fiction, seems to be full of, he teaches our heroine his craft. She soon learns she has a gift for more things of the earth: Her vanished people knew how to find the power lines of the earth and the ways of the great stones, the sarsens, that form a circle in the plain where they lived. Naeri marries the chief in order to assist in restoring the ancient monument, and, with it, the land’s balance.

The Sarsen Witch is the third in the Grey Isles historical fantasy series. Perhaps if I had read the previous titles, I would not feel there was so much missing from this one. Occasional passages of poetical beauty do not cover for an over-all feeling of sparseness, the sense that we have not had the groundwork for events laid for us. It feels pat and simplistic, as if we have heard it all before.

With archaeologists even now undertaking new work at Stonehenge, it is an interesting time to wonder once again how the circle came to be there. Kernaghan’s bibliography at the end is a useful touch.