What if you were locked up awaiting execution and a stranger offered you a bargain that would set you free? What if accepting bound you to certain rules of behaviour for seven years, rules you knew you were likely to break within days? And what if the penalty for breaking them was to find yourself back where you started, eaten up with bitterness and waiting to die?
Blackthorn chooses life, even though she must promise not to seek vengeance against her arch-enemy, Lord Mathuin. In company with a cell-mate, the hulking, silent Grim, the one-time healer and wise woman flees north to Winterfalls, where she settles on the fringe of the mysterious Dreamer’s Wood. Blackthorn has promised her benefactor, the fey nobleman Conmael, that she will use her gifts only for good. But she and Grim are both scarred by the past, and the embittered healer finds her promise increasingly hard to keep.
At Winterfalls, Prince Oran of Dalriada has been eagerly awaiting the arrival of his bride, Lady Flidais. Her portrait and letters have convinced him she is his perfect match. But letters can lie, and Oran finds himself trapped in an untenable situation. When he asks Blackthorn and Grim for help, they are swept up in a mystery that will require all their resources to solve: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and a readiness to accept the uncanny. Hardest of all will be grappling with their own demons.
The Blackthorn & Grim books are set in early medieval Ireland. They are for adult readers.