The Summer Country
by James A. Hetley
Review by Chris Ferrier
Maureen Pierce lives by working as a convenience store clerk, her family thinks she's insane, and now a strange man is stalking her through the icy winter streets of her Maine hometown. The stalker corners Maureen in an alley and is attacked in turn by Brian Albion, a modern day knight from the Summer Country.
Maureen learns she is descended from the Old Ones, the same race as Merlin and Morgan le Fay. Soon she finds herself in the Summer Country, lured there by one of its treacherous inhabitants who turns her over to another man as a slave. Since she is an untrained witch, they both overlook her powers. But untrained doesn't equal powerless. Maureen must fight sorcerers, witches, and the land itself to free herself and others.
For the Summer Country isn't a land of cute mythological creatures and wise gentle magic. The Old Ones rule. They may use modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and solar heat, but their rule is feudal and brutal. They have dungeons and they use torture. Only by facing her own troubled past and learning to use her untested powers will Maureen have a chance to escape.
The Summer Country has a well constructed plot and well-drawn believable characters. The shift from blue collar small town to the beautiful treacherous land of the Old Ones is handled successfully. Terms of endearment are overused, especially by one character who is described as irritating. Italics are also overused.
This is a good first novel, recommended for those who like their fantasy dark and strong.
Note: Language, Sex, Violence.
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