/ Key title The sweeping new novel from the bestselling author of Hiding from the Light and Whispers in the Sand switches between the past, and Roman Britain, and the present day where history dramatically impacts on the lives of three women. / Barbara is a regular Sunday Times bestseller in both hardback and paperback with tremendous sales. / 'Hiding from the Light' sold over 35,000 copies in hardback and made the Sunday Times top 10. / It reached number 4 in paperback -- Barbara's highest chart position to date -- and has sold 150,000 copies to date. / Erskine has a huge audience for her dual time period novels, combining Dark Age Britain with a strong modern story. /'Daughters of Fire' will build upon the hugely successful 'Lady of Hay', which has sold over one million copies worldwide to date. / Competition: Philippa Gregory, Diane Gabaldon, Jean M. Auel
A historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of thirteen bestselling novels that demonstrate her interest in both history and the supernatural, plus three collections of short stories. Her books have appeared in at least twenty-six languages. Her first novel, Lady of Hay, has sold over three million copies worldwide. She lives with her family in an ancient manor house near Colchester and in a cottage near Hay-on-Wye.
Academic historian Viv Lloyd Rees is conflicted about the publication of her first book, a history of the Celtic queen Cartimandua, who ruled in Iron Age Britain prior to the Roman invasion. Although the work proves to be a popular success, Viv's boss Hugh Graham is scathing in his denunciation of it because it contains a large amount of detailed information that is not supported by historical records. What Viv cannot tell Hugh is that the details he objects to have been revealed to her in a series of dreams and visions that she has been having about Cartimandua ever since she started writing the book. Viv's visions become more vivid and obtrusive after she steals an ancient brooch that Hugh has borrowed from a local museum. The brooch serves as a catalyst for the spirits of Cartimandua; Medb, the evil sorceress; and Venutios, the Iron Age chieftain they both loved. Listeners are bounced back and forth between the ancient and modern characters as the past takes over the present and leads to danger, violence, and death. The time switches in this overlong ghost story are choppy and confusing, and the narrative moves at a glacially slow pace, frequently buried under the weight of unnecessary detail. The long plot buildup leads to a diffuse and confusing climactic scene. The present-day characters tend to be overwrought and wimpy; the historical characters are better written, but it is hard to fathom any love developing between Cartimandua and Venutios, who spend almost the entire book abusing each other. Medb is a major character, but she is relegated to a one-note role. Overcoming these weaknesses, narrator Judith Boyd does an excellent job of delineating the large cast of characters by using subtle voice and accent changes. Her reading brings some needed life to the story. Not a necessary purchase for most libraries unless the author's other works are popular.-Barbara Rhodes, Northeast Texas Lib. Syst., Garland Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
DAUGHTERS OF FIRE
'Riveting timeslip novel' Fanny Blake, Woman and Home
Praise for Barbara's other novels
'Her forte is mood, atmosphere and the toe-curling frisson.' Sunday Times
'Readers of Barbara Erskine are held in thrall.'
'Stephen King meeting Ruth Rendell.' Frank Delaney
'Barbara Erskine's storytelling talent is undeniable.' The Times