Owain had waited a year to sing for the Duke of Kas Mendoc. But his master, the renowned Trystan of Langorn, has a change of heart denying him the fame and honour he craves. They journey to Skeinhold Castle in the wild Cae Valley. Bitter and riddled with doubt, Owain wonders if he’ll ever emerge from his master’s long shadow.
A young bard and his master travel to a remote castle in a wild, untamed valley. They uncover a dark secret and set off a chain of events that will alter the fate of two powerful realms.
Yet Skeinhold hides a dark secret known only to a dying lord and his runaway kin. The veil between worlds grows thin and Owain’s Dreamsight stirs. Who is the Mistress of Skeinhold and why does she possess an artefact thought lost? Can Owain and Trystan discover the truth in time or will Owain succumb to temptation?
I purchased this book.
I’m not big on novella’s or short stories, this is not because I don’t think they are any good but because I prefer epic novels. The type that are the size of door-stops, that I can lose myself in for weeks. I am very glad I didn’t let that predilection stop me from picking up Mistress of Skeinhold by Aussie author Chris Rosser.
I really enjoyed it.
The story starts off slowly at first, but the ‘simplicity’ that Rosser employs soon fades into the background as he unveils a story that introduces a world rich in history, politics, religion and power. My favorite things!
In some ways Mistress of Skienhold is akin to the Goethe’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – although there is not a broom or bucket in sight. Rather it tells the tale of Owain, a young apprentice (I thought bard at first, but this is soon revealed to be a bit of a misnomer) on the cusp of manhood.
As is the want of many an apprentice, Owain is eager to race ahead in his training, faster than his master will permit, and feels a restlessness and some small resentment at being ‘held back’. So, when the opportunity to learn of the secrets his master keeps him from is presented by a beautiful woman, Mistress of Skienhold becomes a story of temptation and a rite of passage.
And as we learn of the world around him, Owain learns the true depth of his gift, and his own worth, crossing the threshold to adulthood and beginnings of wisdom.
Mistress of Skienhold is a wonderful introduction to an exciting new Aussie voice in speculative fiction. I am very eager to read the next book and to discover more of this world that Rosser has created – and to follow Owain on his next adventure.
I’m hooked and I highly recommend it!