Elizabeth Hunter’s newest romantic fantasy, The Staff and the Blade, thunders across the pages, from medieval times to modern. Epic in scope and rich in texture, it's a stunning four-part read. Hunter’s tale begins in the Middle Ages, on the Scottish isle of Orkney, where Irin and humans live peaceful and bucolic lives. Neither scribe Damien, nor singer Sari are “easy” people—intensely strong, they fight and love with equal passion and persistence. The reader, ever in tune with their personalities, bumps and lumps right along with them and their fractious courtship. I loved every minute.
Conflict, like a sea tide, sweeps in and withdraws, to ultimately envelope the couple’s pairing—humans at war, factions in conflict, and for those familiar with the earlier Irin Chronicles, the Fallen and the Forgiven at each others throats.
No gentle book this, but a tearing and mending and rending again until the mighty and thrilling climax, which points to the next arc of this impressive series. I wept and laughed as I read of deep tragedies and stunning triumphs, terrible sorrows and wonderful joys, and most especially, great love. Oh, yes, Damien’s and Sari’s fierce love story comprises the spine of Hunter’s novel. What a hum-dinger of a book.
By the time I read the last page, I was reeling. Don’t end! But, of course, books do end, although not necessarily stories. Hunter has said the Irin Chronicles will continue. And I’m thrilled. But I already miss Damien and Sari, two incredibly special Irin, along with the other fascinating characters who populate the novel.
Elizabeth Hunter has yet to write a book I didn’t love. So I must wait. For now, I’ve put The Staff and the Blade atop my “to be read again” pile.