by Rebecca Barnhouse
In Peaceweaver Barnhouse develops the story of Hild, a minor character in the sixth-century epic poem Beowulf. Teenage Hild is the favored niece of the king. However her life changes rapidly and surprisingly after she saves her cousin, the prince, from an assassination attempt. This act should have brought Hild praise and gratitude, but instead she is accused of treason. As punishment Hild is promised in marriage to the king of the Geats, an enemy kingdom. She is devastated by her uncle’s plan and resolves to escape from her guards as they journey over rough terrain to the Geat kingdom. The forest Hild and her party travel through is dark, full of dangerous creatures, and steeped in magic. Challenges faced during the journey force Hild to reevaluate her convictions and when she reaches Geat she must decide to escape or face her future away from everyone she loves. Barnhouse’s vivid descriptions of the forest, Hild’s home city, and of Hild herself are well written and engaging. Peaceweaver is the sequel to The Coming of the Dragon but stands on its own as an enjoyable historical fantasy.