Shadows of the Trees
by Sue Bridgwater & Alistair McGechie

Original map - Alistair McGechie
Graphic re-styling - Jan Hawke


On a hidden island in the far western sea, two children are born to the goddess Iranor and her mortal lover.
In the city of Sen-Mar, a boy is born fatherless, and he and his mother are condemned as apostates.
These three children are fated to wander as exiles over the lands of Skorn, seeking peace and consolation.
From island to island, oversea and undersea, through forests and grasslands, they seek what they have lost.

5 Star Reviews (taken from

by Clare O'Beara (Eire)

I enjoyed this gentle and searching fantasy set in an earlier time when, as with the Fianna in Ireland, an immortal woman travels to a mortal shore, meets a man, brings him home and changes destiny. (In Finn's day, his son Oisin went to Tir na Nog with Niamh where he never aged, but on touching the soil of Erin again after many years he became an old man.)

The tale focuses on Drewin and Saranna, the children of Iranor the Immortal and her sadly mortal lover. As demigods, the children have to choose their course, but the choice is inadvertently made and they are banished (similar to the fall from Eden) to make their way in an unfamiliar and unforgiving world. Separated, they don't know if the other is alive or if they will ever meet again. Drewin travels and learns, while Saranna as a girl in sparse communities has few options open to her and works her way up to run households. I could not imagine her leaving her own child behind, but demigods would be different to the rest of us.

We also meet Kor-Sen, a boy who learns to ask questions such as why doesn't he have a father, and why can't girls be taught to read. He later goes on to be well educated, but I thought he might have done more about seeing to it that girls could read. With a shrewd mind and occasionally finding himself among simple people, the much-travelling Kor-Sen applies himself to learning how to prosper, and finding a woman to suit him. He came across to me as self-interested which may be a product of his early life. We also meet other interesting characters.

If you're tired of the same old heroic quests, or ever more complex magical power systems, this book Shadows Of The Trees is a refreshing change. Those who enjoy the sword and sorcery variety however will find it a slower read. The language is beautiful and the woven tale contains well-researched details about life in fishing villages, desert towns and other lands. Settings move frequently to bring us to undersea glades and towns, mountain goatherding huts, city perimeters and eerie tunnels, among others. Read and enjoy.


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