Unwept: Book One of The Nightbirds
Tracy Hickman & Laura Hickman
Tor, 2014 (2014)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
by Tracy and Laura Hickman is the first in a new, rather unusual fantasy trilogy,
, set in the remote seaside town of Gamin, Maine. Amnesiac Ellis Harkington is escorted there by a forbidding nurse. On the journey, she reads in the newspaper about '
a string of murders in Halifax.
nce arrived, she discovers that everyone in Gamin appears to know her, but no-one will tell her anything about her past and how she got there in the first place. Ellis stays in a mansion with her cousin Jenny. Merrick Bacchus, whom Jenny claims as her
, seems to run things in Gamin and lives in the enormous Norembega. Jenny blows hot and cold, often seeming jealous of Merrick's obvious interest in Ellis. And Ellis dreams of being buried alive, of moths, thorns and roses - and of a soldier with a marred face, Jonas, who claims her.
enny's hands were badly deformed in an incident involving Ellis, but Jenny also has problems recapturing her memories. They are both under the care of Dr. Carmichael, but is he really a physician? Jenny takes Ellis to the Nightbirds Literary Society House, telling her cousin she will be among friends there. Merrick attends and enquires about Ellis's
. He tells Ellis that the two of them '
were something great once
', but he makes her very uneasy.
he story meanders from one puzzle to another but Ellis eventually learns of '
a war in heaven
' and of the exile to which the '
' who did not choose were sent. A monster stalks her, but who is he? Though I found the story in
rather disconnected, it does make an intriguing opening to
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