Message From The Author
Breathes Magic into Regency England
By Susan Krinard
They have existed for centuries, in a hundred different lands, under a veil
of mystery: the elegant beings known as the "Fair Folk" or Faerie, who have the appearance of men and women but wield great power and special gifts.
In previous romance novels, I've written a series about men and women who shift into wolf form (including Once a Wolf and Secret of the Wolf), as well as stories about time-travelling heroes and heroines (Twice A Hero) and life-force vampires (Prince of Dreams), but I've always wanted to explore the nature of these mythic and mystical beings whose legends, by their names as Fane, Fée, Fata, Peri, Hada, Jinn, Alfar, Selkie, Sidhe, Fair Folk, Tylwyth Teg, and the Gentry, have contributed to my own imaginative race of creatures introduced in THE FOREST LORD, the first book of The Fane Chronicles. If you can picture the beautiful, almost immortal men and women Tolkien introduced in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, you can imagine the Fane.
Yet my Fane are not elves; they are closer to nature, capable
of taking the forms of animals, as well as humans; able to work magic of earth, sky and water. In the tradition of romance, the Fane have been known to take mortals as lovers, and to sire or give birth to talented half-human children.
The Fane have lived on earth since long before the earliest
civilizations of mankind. For thousands of years they existed alongside humans, protecting the wild lands and speaking with the beasts of wood and field, sure of their superiority to man.
But then Cold Iron, man's working of metal, began to poison the land. Humanity grew in number and began to invade the Fane's wilderness sanctuaries.
So it was that many Fane, great and small, abandoned the world of humans and returned to their Blessed Land, beyond the realm of mortal sight. Only a
few Fane remained, to live and love among those who had once feared
and worshiped them…
In THE FOREST LORD, my hero is the powerful defender of the primeval English forest of Hartsmere and all the animals within it. Lord Hern is one of those few Fane who chose to remain on earth long after most of his friends and family returned to Tir-na-nog. He has the power to control the weather in his dale in the north of the land called England. He can summon birds and beasts and make trees grow overnight from seed to sapling. Yet he has lived in loneliness, yearning for something more than his Fane nature can provide.
That "something more" is love. The Fane are powerful, but they do
not understand human emotion; they are drawn to it as men and women are drawn to the forbidden and impossible.
Unable to bear his loneliness, Hern decides he, too, must return to the magical Fane homeland of Tir-na-nog. But the Fane bloodline is thinning, in danger of extinction. As a condition of his return, he must father a half-human child to give the Fane bloodline diversity and strength.
He chooses as his mate Lady Eden Fleming, only daughter of the Lord of Hartsmere. In the civilized days of the Regency, Hern cannot simply steal the woman of his choice as Fane did in primitive times. He must strike a dangerous bargain with Eden's father, promising wealth and prosperity in exchange for Eden's hand.
Posing as a distant cousin, he woos and wins her, only to lose her again when she realizes his true nature. But the two are
destined to come together again, reunited by their lost son
and by a love that even the vast gulf between Fane and human woman cannot destroy.
In fact, Hern—who takes the name Hartley Shaw in his life with Lady Eden—is to begin a new legacy of the Fane on earth. He and Eden will have children, each carrying one of their father's gifts, each of whom
will have a story of his or her own as part of the Fane Chronicles series.
Their first son, Donal, introduced in The Forest Lord, has a talent for healing animals. He chooses the simple life of a veterinarian (my childhood occupational choice), but his meeting with the famous collector of exotic wildlife, Lady Gillian, forces him to change his solitary ways.
Hartley and Eden's second son, Aidan, heir to Hartsmere, misuses
his Fane heritage in the pursuit of pleasure until crusading Sarah Draper enlists him in her battle for animal welfare. And their daughter Fiona, blessed and cursed with unearthly Fane beauty and a gift for growing things, must learn whether or not she can be loved for herself.
The descendants of Eden and Hartley will pass their Fane talents on
to their children, and their children's children, throughout the Victorian era and into the present, where the ancient gifts are so sorely needed.
I think I was born with a love of animals and nature. I've always loved being outside, smelling the green things and listening to the birds and the wind in the trees. When I was about 10 years old, I decided I wanted to be a paleontologist and dig up dinosaur bones. In my middle school years, I was bound and determined to become a veterinarian. In high school and college, I was painting animal portraits on commission.
This love of nature greatly affects my writing. It means that I always consider setting—be it the forest, desert, or prairie—a "character" in its own right. It's why I like to be able to picture where a story is set, and why I frequently use description to create a sense of location.
My concern for the fate of the world's wild wolf populations had much to do with my selection of werewolves—shapeshifters—as my first fantasy romance heroes. I wanted to show that wolves are not fearsome, destructive vermin, but animals worthy of respect and very much a necessary part of our ecosystem. In The Forest Lord, the forest sanctuary of Hartsmere functions like the protected wilderness areas of today, where animals can live out their lives without fear of hunting or the destruction of their habitat.
Fantasy romance allows me to express my concern for our natural environment and also satisfies my love of adventure and romance in exotic places and faraway times, past and future. I plan to tell many of these stories in coming years, and I hope that you'll enjoy The Forest Lord and the succeeding tales in The Fane Chronicles.
A Guide to Fane Spotting
Susan Krinard's THE FANE CHRONICLES follow a diminishing race of Fane as they merge with humans to save their bloodline and preserve their magical gifts that humans need. According to her legend, here's how to spot the Fane among us.
Fane can appear as men and women, or may take the forms of animals. High Fane are extraordinarily beautiful. Some "races" of Fane appear as traditional "fairies"
Fane were often revered as gods by early men and are the inspiration for
many myths, including those of fairies, elves, changelings, pookas, kelpies,
leprechauns, korrigans, merfolk, selkies, dryads, naiads, and genies.
Fane powers may include control over weather, nurturing of plant life, communication with animals, shapeshifting, magical teleportation, various forms of telepathy, and flight.
Fane are traditionally bound to the wild places of earth, including forests, lakes, and oceans.
Fane are very long-lived, and may appear immortal to humans. They are immune
to most illnesses, but fear certain metals, such as the "Cold Iron" of man, which can weaken and kill them.
Fane have been known to mate and create children with humans; these children may possess all, some or none of the Fane gifts.
Excerpt from THE FOREST LORD
With the merino pelisse drawn close about her like a suit of armor, Eden returned to the stable. Much to her surprise, Dalziel was on his feet. Beside him stood Shaw, not touching but somehow lending support even so.
And she saw his face.
I know this man, she thought. The moment of recognition was brief, but it shook her to the core before she realized that it must be an illusion. She would have remembered such a face.
Hartley Shaw had looks that took her breath away. His were the sort of features one might find in a member of the ton, but more sharply cut, bolder, less refined. The chin was dimpled but firm, mouth generous but masculine, nose decisive.
And the eyes… the eyes were the verdant green of new spring growth, nestled in the heart of winter. For Shaw's expression was as cold as the land around them.
He met her gaze with not the slightest hint of deference, and she could have sworn that a mocking smile lifted one corner of his mouth.
"I've seen to your horse," he said, neglecting to add her title.
"Thank you." She forced herself to look away. "Dalziel?"
"I'm better, my lady," he said, holding his shoulder. "It's still not right, but the pain is gone. Shaw helped me."
Eden would have had difficulty imagining Shaw bending enough to
help anyone, had he not stepped in to save Donal. He was as unyielding as
one of Elgin's Greek statues.
And yet he had moved with grace and suppleness when he had worked with Atlas. Could a laborer be as graceful as if he'd spent years learning to move in expertly-cut clothing, and in perfect time to a quadrille at Almack's?
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