Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht

Of Blood and Honey (Fey and the Fallen)This is another book that was touted on another book blog as being "mind-blowing." I have to say that it wasn't, really. The story is set in the context of the conflict between the IRA and the British Army, mostly in and around Belfast beginning in 1971. William "Liam" Kelly is a young man caught up in that struggle, but he is also a half-breed Fey. His mother had an affair with one of the fair folk, named Bran, when she was younger, though the fact that he's a bastard is concealed by the fiction that she was married to a man who ran off. The secondary struggle that's going on is one between the Fey and the Fallen (angels), and between a militant order of the Catholic Church and the Fey (whom they believe to be the same as the Fallen) and Fallen.

Liam is imprisoned for being in the wrong place at the wrong time when a riot breaks out, and again later on under the same sort of circumstances. During his stay in the clutches of the British, he is repeatedly brutalized, and after a series of prison rapes by some guards, he manifests one of his supernatural powers; as a puca, he is able to turn into a large dog, like a wolfhound, and he savages one of his attackers in retribution. Liam's Fey father is also keeping tabs on  him while he is in prison, and bad things tend to happen to the people who abuse Liam.

After he is released, he gets married to his sweetheart, Mary Kate, and is recruited by a branch of the IRA. His life remains very depressing, and one bad thing after another happens to him. Eventually, however, the priest who has watched over him at his mother's request for years tells him more about his family history, and Liam is drawn into the larger conflict between the supernatural beings and the Church, while he pursues vengeance for himself, his friends and his family.

Overall, a bit dark, but tightly written and well researched from the historical side of things. It could very well be the start of a series by Leicht.

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