“”It is a talisman, that thing,” Morozko said. He spoke as though he were choosing his words. “It may be some protection.””
This is book two, I haven’t read book one, but the story still worked for me.
Vasya has left home, her parents are dead, the villagers think she is a witch and will kill her if she returns. She doesn’t want the life of a woman in Rus, life in a convent or a tower. Vasya wishes for life as a traveller, on the move, experiencing new places. That is not something a woman can do.
Vasya rides Solovey, a bay stallion, with whom she is able to communicate. Solovey helps to keep Vasya safe wherever he can. But even immortal horses have their limitations.
Her brother Sasha is a monk and he too is a traveller. Wandering about the countryside doing the bidding of his masters.
There are characters in the story whose aim is to do mischief and mayhem in order to enrich their own lives. These are the people who are set against Vasya, Sasha and their companions. Vasya must hide herself under the guise of a boy throughout it all, in order to protect herself.
Morozko ‘Winter King’ is there on the periphery watching out for Vasya where he can, but he cannot reach into the city and that is where Vasya is most at risk, and where disaster hits.
I found myself worrying about Vasya when I was away from the book, there were parts where she was in dire straits and I couldn’t help but wonder what would come next.
A well written tale of the old gods of medieval Russia. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.
5/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)
The next in The Bear and the Nightingale trilogy.
For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or a life in a convent. Vasya will choose a third way: magic…
The court of the Grand Prince of Moscow is plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest. Meanwhile bandits roam the countryside, burning the villages and kidnapping its daughters. Setting out to defeat the raiders, the Prince and his trusted companion come across a young man riding a magnificent horse.
Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior’s training, recognises this ‘boy’ as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical…