This first book in the Rebel Angels trilogy starts in the heat of the action, with young narrator Seth seconds away from killing his beloved brother Conal to save him from an even worse fate. The gripping first pages establish the characters, setting and fantasy-lite feel of the book immediately, which infuses the pages of backstory that follow with importance. The immortal (though not invincible) Sithe world of the brothers and the all-too-familiar human world where they are exiled come alive with expertly drawn details, from the depiction of Sithe women as “wonderful fighters” but terrible mothers to the very human failings of the mob mentality and suspicion of outsiders.
Seth and Conal find themselves exiled from their world and banished into the human mortal world in the 16th century, where religious superstition has taken hold and priests vie for power over the hearts and minds of the poor. The outsider brothers must fend off accusations of witchcraft and navigate an unfamiliar world, all while the ambitious Sithe queen threatens to destroy the veil that separates the two worlds in order to gain more power. (TOR, Feb., 368 pp., $24.99)