The year is 500 AD. Sisters Isla and Blue live in the shadows of the Ghost City, the abandoned ruins of the once-glorious mile-wide Roman settlement Londinium on the bank of the River Thames. But the small island they call home is also a place of exile for Isla, Blue, and their father, a legendary blacksmith accused of using dark magic to make his firetongue swords—formidable blades that cannot be broken—and cast out from the community. When he dies suddenly, the sisters find themselves facing enslavement by the local warlord and his cruel, power-hungry son. Their only option is to escape to the Ghost City, where they discover an underworld of rebel women living secretly amid the ruins. But if Isla and Blue are to survive the men who hunt them, and protect their new community, they will need to use all their skill and ingenuity—as well as the magic of their foremothers—to fight back.
“Dark Earth” is rich in history and myth but also in characterization. What Rebecca Stott has done is utilize her understanding of the history and culture of the time but mine it for the historical aspects that allows us a glimpse into the lives of women of the era. She has created, with her storytelling, a deep understanding of the lives of these women but also their power and complexity. The characters of Isla and Blue are so memorable and engaging that as a reader you find yourself absorbed into their lives and their emotions.
Rebecca Stott has created a story rich in history and myth that explores the fictional lives of two women, allowing for a view of empowerment and sexual identity unprecedented for the time period. The layers of history are riveting, so glorious and believable. The curse that Isla believes she has inherited and the trouble the sisters find themselves in is absorbing. I was swept up in their story, in their relationships, and in their abilities. The rich weaving of truth with fiction created a world and energy that kept me reading long into the night.
If you love rich history and myth, stories that use folklore and memorable characters, you might enjoy this historical fantasy fiction by Rebecca Stott. It is impossible to put down and the characters are gloriously written.
Rating: 5 out of 5 brooches