It was a time in England when Lords and Ladies attended a Season in London, and women strolling carried parasols in the summer and Sensible Dress when travelling. It was also a time when use of magic was carefully monitored by a council and Masters of the Elements (Fire, Water, Air and Earth) played a significant role in ensuring there were no abuses by magic-users or elementals themselves. A Master is born – not made, and the most dangerous Master of all is the unknowing and untrained. And so begins Mari’s story.
Mari’s family have been fishermen for many generations past and lived in a fine stout cottage on the Wales Coast. She was raised by her Da after her mother and brother were taken by the sea with a rogue wave. She loved the simple life they lived. She often feared for her Da on those days when great storms raged on the sea where her father was fishing, although he always survived the storms and brought in the fattest salmon and the plumpest herring. The only other cloud on her horizon was that she worried that she might be going mad because it seemed she saw things that no one else did, and occasionally those “things” spoke to her or led her to batches of mussels and clams.
And on her eighteenth birthday, her Da told her that her entire life had been a lie. In King Arthur’s day, an ancestor had made a bargain with the Selch, supernatural creatures of the sea who lived as seals in water and humans on land. In exchange for the promise of safety on the sea and bountiful fishing, a member of the family would marry a Selch and have two children – one for the Selch and one for the family. The family carried magic in its blood and the Selch needed that magic. Mari’s mother and brother had not been taken by the sea, they had returned to it. And now, her Da said, it was Mari’s turn to fulfill the bargain and take a Selch husband.
Outraged and in despair, Mari must bargain with the Selch Clan Chieftain, somehow fulfill the promise that keeps her Da safe, and learn to manage the wild magic that lives within her. Unbeknownst to Mari, help was on the way from London and unexpected help arrived from the Sea. But the trials were only just beginning.
Home from the Sea is the 7th in the Elemental Masters series and I consider it the best yet. The characters are many-faceted and solid. Each has their own weaknesses and quirks that play into the complex relationships between man, elementals, supernatural creatures and the world itself. Ms. Lackey does an outstanding job of placing the reader in a small Welsh fishing village and following the ordinary rhythm of life that still allows for extraordinary things to happen. The storyline is gripping, the anguish is gut-wrenching and the tension taut. Home from the Sea successfully whisks one away to another place and time that seems eminently believable and familiar.
- Reading level: Ages 18 and up
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: DAW Hardcover; 1 edition (June 5, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0756407273
- ISBN-13: 978-0756407278