MAGIC GONE ASTRAY — It was Beltane Eve and student librarian Ruth Marlowe’s thirtieth birthday when she stumbled over New York City’s latest mugging victim. He was tall, with long silvery hair, catlike eyes, pointed ears, and he was garbed in the finest of hand-sewn medieval wear. His name – he told Ruth and her firends, Naomi, Michael, Jane, and Philip, when they gatherd to hear his tale – was Rohannan Melior of the House of Silver Silences in Elphame.
How he had come to the mortal World of Iron, Melior himself was not certain. But he was positive that he must reclaim the priceless magical item the muggers had stolen from him – the Sword of Maiden’s Tears. For the Sword, one of the Twelve Treasures of Elphame, had been given into his care, and if he could not produce it at the High King’s crowning, his entire line would face permanent exile.
And humans, too, would suffer for the Sword’s loss. For the curse on this magic blade was that any moratl who wielded it would be transformed into a grendel, and almost indestructible monster which preyed only upon humans. But in a city with as many hiding places and pitfalls as New York, what hope did one elf lord and five mere mortals have of finding and slaying the unstoppable force of evil that had stolen Melior’s treasure?
I have a TBR of 700+. Year after year, I have never managed to whittle this figure down to less than 700. So re-reading a book is really not a smart thing to do, right–if my goal is to unburden myself of my TBR?
Yet, I kept re-reading The Sword of Maiden Tears. For more than 10 years, Melior and Ruth have been in my imagination. Melior was an elf prince lost in New York and Ruth a librarian who found him injured in an alley. Melior had a quest to retrieve his cursed sword and Ruth just wanted to live (because much of her life was taken away from her).
I loved the complex relationship between the characters and their witty and sometimes wry dialogue. Edghill writes very well. The internal struggles of the characters were presented clearly. I came to care for them very much. The heroine wasn’t a kick-ass Urban Fantasy heroine with special powers. She was just a librarian who cared deeply for her friends and will do anything for them. But she was rather prickly so when she did need to go beyond her comfort zone for the sake of love and friendship, she did so a little indignantly.
The book is mixed Fantasy, Horror and Romance. Melior’s sword turned any human who held it into a cannibal-grendel. The elf prince must plead with doubting humans to help him find his sword before the grendel’s appetite became all-consuming, devouring all humans in existence. Only the Sword of Maiden’s Tears could kill it, and only Melior could wield it safely.
Ruth’s friends must struggle against doubt to help a stranger who threatened to turn their world upside down, overturning much of their preconceptions about the universe. When they eventually helped Melior, to chase a monster across the subterranean tunnels of New York City, the result was heartbreaking.
Though the Romance was understated, it rang clear and pure through all interactions between Melior and Ruth. He has seen her face in a vision many years ago and the promise of her love sustained him for many lonely years. To find his love a short-lived human to his immortal elf was a shock. The humans were not the only ones having to deal with the unexpected.
He only had a short time in her world, and he had to make it count to convince her to leave her world and choose him.
I love this book. I love it. I love it. For over 10 years I had no idea what happened next. I survived on the promise of more to come in the first book’s ending. Only lately did I get hold of the sequels. And I’m reading them again and again because I can’t bear to leave Ruth and Melior alone.
I wish there are more than three books in the series. There should be 12 at least, given as the series is called The Twelve Treasures, right?
I finally find out the rest of their story. Ruth falls from an inter-dimensional rift at a library into the world of Elphame. There she discovers that powerful forces are meddling in the affairs of both elves and humans. Her journey leas her to Melior who has also been shaking things up in his world to find a way back to Ruth. Two powerful beings, one evil and the other with unknown motivations provide conflict and assistance. More characters are introduced to the world, whose journeys intersect for a fabulous confrontation.
I highly recommend this series for lovers of Fantasy Romance. You may not love it as much as I do, but you might just enjoy the discovery of a quietly gleaming gem.
Books in Twelve Treasures by Rosemary Edghill
- The Sword of Maiden’s Tears
- The Cup of Morning Shadows
- The Cloak of Night and Daggers
- The Empty Crown – Omnibus edition