Synopses & Reviews
As the newly appointed Chalice, Mirasol is the most important member of the Masters Circle. It is her duty to bind the Circle, the land and its people together with their new Master. But the new Master of Willowlands is a Priest of Fire, only drawn back into the human world by the sudden death of his brother. No one knows if it is even possible for him to live amongst his people. Mirasol wants the Master to have his chance, but her only training is as a beekeeper. How can she help settle their demesne during these troubled times and bind it to a Priest of Fire, the touch of whose hand can burn human flesh to the bone?
Robin McKinley weaves a captivating tale that reveals the healing power of duty and honor, love and honey.
"Fans and new readers alike will greedily devour McKinley's latest, a high fantasy as perfectly shaped and eloquently told as Beauty and The Hero and the Crown. Humble beekeeper Mirasol has been chosen to take on the key ceremonial role of Chalice, the woman charged with maintaining the province's well-being by communicating with the (sentient) land. She is keenly aware of the suffering brought on by the misrule of its former Master: '[The province] Willowlands was restless, hurt and unhappy... delirious as a child with a bad fever.' Hope flickers when the former Master's brother returns and assumes the role; but because he is now an Elemental priest of Fire, he may not be able to perform the duties. Mirasol and the new Master are drawn to each other, even though she suspects their union is prohibited, and their smoldering attraction plus the gorgeously evoked magic and the escalating threat that Willowlands will be usurped gives this tale its sizzle. In the best McKinley fashion, the fantasy realm is evoked in thorough and telling detail, with the energy of the narrative lending excitement to descriptions of even the most stylized rituals. A lavish and lasting treat. Ages 12 up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
-High fantasy as perfectly shaped and eloquently told as Beauty
and The Hero and the Crown
. A lavish and lasting treat.+ -Publishers Weekly
, starred review
-Readers who long for beautiful phrases and descriptive writing will find themselves drinking in this rich fairy tale as if it were honey trickling down their throats.+ -School Library Journal
The author of the Newbery Medal winner "The Hero and the Crown" is back with a masterful new novel--a captivating tale that reveals the healing power of duty and honor, love and honey.
Mirasol is a beekeeper, a honey-gatherer, with an ability to speak to the ÒearthlinesÓÑthe sentient parts of Willowlands, where she lives. The concerns of Master, Chalice, and Circle, who govern Willowlands, have nothing to do with herÑuntil the current Master and Chalice die in a fire and leave no heirs to take their places. The MasterÕs closest relative has been a priest of Fire for the past seven years; he is not quite human anymore. And then the Circle comes to Marisol and tells her that she is the new Chalice, and it will be up to her to bind the land and its people with a Master, the touch of whose hand can burn human flesh to the bone. . . .
Beekeeper Marisol has been chosen as the new Chalice, destined to stand beside the Master and mix the ceremonial brews that hold the Willowlands together. But the relationship between Chalice and Master has always been tumultuous, and the new Master is unlike any before him.
About the Author
Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown
and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword
. Her other books include Sunshine
; the New York Times
bestseller Spindle's End
; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast
, Beauty and Rose Daughter
; and a retelling of the Robin Hood
legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood
. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.