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Thursday, September 11, 2014

REVIEWS for THE TATTOOED WITCH and THE TATTOOED SEER

I DON'T GENERALLY POST REVIEWS OF MY BOOKS (come to think of it, I don't think I have yet here on Suzenyms), but I couldn't resist these two. They were completely unexpected. The first review is by Steve Stanton on the 49th Shelf, as a recommendation for September reading:

Steve Stanton picks The Tattooed Witch, by Susan MacGregor

"This debut fantasy novel by accomplished Canadian editor Susan MacGregor is set during the historical period of the Spanish Inquisition when women lived without basic civil rights and were treated as chattel. The author has a gift for engaging empathy from the reader with a simple narrative style.

The story begins dramatically with a young seer falsely accused of murder and destined for torture and death at the hands of corrupt papist minions, then begins to conjure a thematic ballet of primitive European spirituality and unrequited love. It's a dance of life revolving around a gypsy tribe known as the Diaphani, who have magical powers of divination in their bloodline, worship the goddess Lys, and believe in an afterlife of ghosts and demons. Hounded by the orthodox Church, the Diaphani make an annual pilgrimage by caravan to a secret sanctuary in the hills for ceremonies of prophetic appointment and cultural restoration.

The Tattooed Witch explores and satisfies the innate human longing for arcane knowledge and forbidden revelation with strong elements of romance, revenge, and reconciliation."

Steve Stanton is the author of a Canadian sci-fi trilogy, The Bloodlight Chronicles, and is the former president of Canada's national association of science fiction and fantasy authors. You can find him on Twitter @SFStanton.

And here's the Amazon.com review by Greg McKitrick, regarding The Tattooed Seer:

"I’ll begin this review with a caution. Susan MacGregor’s The Tattooed Seer is a sequel to last year’s The Tattooed Witch. I read the latter about a year ago, and even with that relatively short period of time, I found myself struggling at times to remember the back story. So, if you have not read The Tattooed Witch,  read it first. It’s a wonderful book and will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the The Tattooed Seer.

So on with the review of this book. Susan MacGregor sets her books in 16th century Spain, where a magical band of gypsies are fleeing persecution from Tomas, the Grand Inquisitor for the Spanish Inquisition. The book is fantasy but that hasn’t stopped the writer from doing meticulous historical research, so much so that most readers of historical fiction or romance will find much to like here.

The story centers around Miriam, the band’s matriarch and her struggles to lead her people to safety. Her life is complicated not just by the inherent dangers of their situation, but also by two lovers, one of whom is corporeal and the other spiritual. This may well be the oddest love triangle I’ve ever encountered but it works beautifully.

Miriam’s powers come from self-inflicted magical tattoos but she is not alone. Each member of her band has their own special ability but they must work together or perish at the hands of Tomas. Getting them to do so is part of the challenge facing Miriam.

If you are a fan of historical fantasy or romance this book will sit in your sweet spot. But here’s the thing. I’m not and yet this book still works for me, largely because Susan MacGregor is a literary craftsman. In my world, fine writing trumps genres any time, and this is fine writing."

G.J.C. McKitrick writes poetry, songs, short stories, novels, stage plays, and reviews under the name G.J.C. McKitrick and science fiction under the name T.K. Boomer. His mainstream novel “A Walk in the Thai Sun” is available on Amazon. He is close to completing his science fiction novel, “The Fahr”. He maintains a website at: http://bit.ly/1oKwjhf

(My thanks to both Steve and Greg for these great reviews. As I mentioned earlier, they were unexpected, which makes them all the sweeter. Since both reviews have been made by men, I'm happy to see that the trilogy is breaking barriers - not simply dismissed as 'women's fiction'.)

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