by Rebecca Lochlann
438 pages, Erinyes Press
Review by Melissa Conway
Falcon Blue is book six in author Rebecca Lochlann’s eight-book mythic historical fantasy series Child of the Erinyes. This is the epic story of Athene’s Wanderers reborn into the Early Middle Ages following their first incarnation in the Bronze Age.
Eamhair is the only daughter of Bericus, brutal chieftain of the fortress of Dunaedan, perched high on the wind-swept northwestern cliffs of Gaelic Scotland. Promised to the king when she was an infant, her reputation among men has been deliberately cultured by her father as that of a “goddess among women.” Despite this deception, her true status is that of a lowly servant, with no more value to her father than that of a bartering tool. To countermand her bleak existence and even bleaker future, Eamhair clings to the fanciful tales of magic her mother regaled her with as a child – that the Seolh-king would someday come to take her away to his kingdom in the sea. She attributes her mother’s influence to her occasional glimpses behind the veil of an incorporeal place, completely unaware that she was once Aridela, Queen of Crete.
When Cailean, a mysterious blue-eyed warrior from a foreign land arrives at the fortress atop his imposing stallion Bharosa and accompanied by his wolf Vita, Eamhair is immediately struck by an intangible sensation of familiarity. Cailean himself is inexplicably enchanted by the untouchable daughter of his new lord. Like her, he has no recollection of his prior life as Menoetius.
At the same time, unbeknownst to either of them, a monk named Taranis has also found his way to Dunaedan. He’s been skulking in the hidden passages of the fortress, stalking Eamhair. Of the three, he’s the only one whose memories of his life as Chrysaleon of Mycenae are intact, but this impossible knowledge drives him to the brink of insanity. He cannot resist his undying obsession with Aridela – born in this time as Eamhair.
As each of them struggle to reconcile these otherworldly notions, Harpalycus is drawn to Dunaedan and Eamhair as surely as Cailean and Taranis were. After centuries jumping from body to body in an orgy of malevolent indulgence, he is now masquerading as Fathna, powerful brother to the king, and is determined to seize the opportunity to even the score with the hapless trio.
In true Rebecca Lochlann feminist fashion, Falcon Blue immerses the reader in an entangled saga of magic, eternal life, and divine prophecy, while shining harsh light on male dominance throughout history. As always, her novels are highly recommended by this reviewer.