14 February 2011

Book of the Week (89): "Ice Maiden" by Sally Prue

It’s 1939, shortly after Kristallnacht , the Night of Broken Glass, with its wave of Nazi attacks on Germany's Jews. Franz and his parents have left Berlin behind and are in England on an extended holiday. Franz has distanced himself from his parents, disgusted by their Nazi loyalty, their abilty to turn their backs on those in need and frustrated by their refusal to provide answers. As an outsider in the local village, a boy with the wrong accent and wrong coat, Franz spends all his time alone on the nearby common, watching the wildlife, considering the ferocity and beauty of nature.

Then one day Franz is surprised to find himself being attacked by something, something icy cold, something he can’t see…

Eldrin is of the tribe, beautiful, vicious and hungry, hungrier than she’s ever been before. As her hunger grows her fascination with the daemon boy grows too. She watches him, sees him stare in her direction, careful to avoid looking into his eyes for fear of being captured by daemon slave vines. Yet realising there is something different about this daemon - he doesn’t seem to be enslaved. Spending increasing time near him, following him, she starts to change. Her Tribe grow suspicious, turning against her, forcing her to run or fight. Franz and Eldrin are two outsiders, drawn together through fascination and survival.

An interesting interplay of the distressing reality of Nazi doctrine and the supernatural realm of Faeries, exploring notions of being an outsider, the dangers of being perceived as different, of trust, misunderstanding and of survival.
Ice Maiden can be read alone but it is the prequel to Sally Prue's award-winning Cold Tom, a re-imagining of the folk legend of Tam Lin, the human man tempted by an elvish queen.

Recommended by Tessa Brechin

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