Reviews for Something Red
Booklist Reviews 2012 July #1
Poet Nicholas puts his flair for language and imagery to good use in his atmospheric first novel. The tension level ratchets ever higher as a traveling troupe comprised of the strange and wondrous Mistress Molly, her equally mysterious lover, her devoted granddaughter, and her impressionable young apprentice/son roam the bleak countryside of northwest England. The medieval setting lends itself perfectly to the dark and the fantastic, as this motley band of vagabonds is compelled to stave off the nameless and faceless evil swirling about it wherever it goes. After it takes refuge in a castle, relief is short-lived, and the band must grapple with terror on a grand scale. Not for the faint of heart, this pulse-pounding page-turner grabs you from the start and never lets you go. A wickedly clever and evocative combination of history, horror, mystery, and magic. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #2
Award-winning poet Nicholas (Iron Rose, 2010, etc.) treks into the wilds of medieval England in his first novel, a saga vibrant with artful description. Maeve, known as Molly in England, is an Irish warrior queen, musician and healer. Exiled, she leads a caravan populated by Jack, once a crusader, now her companion; Nemain, her granddaughter; and Hob, an orphan put in her care by an aging priest. In baleful winter weather, Molly's troop travels toward Durham, taking refuge first at St. Germaine de la Roche, a mountain monastery. An ominous atmosphere descends when one of the guardian monks, Brother Athanasius, is discovered dismembered nearby. Nicholas adeptly creates the medieval world, intriguingly populated by guilders, knights and wayfarers from faraway Lietuva. The group next stops at a vibrant country inn, a near-fortress against bandits, run by Osbert atte Well. Nicholas' language, its relevance to ancient times in syntax and vocabulary, and his extensive research into medieval England, bring this book to life in a brilliant fashion. Nicholas' descriptions of life at the inn and later at the redoubt of the Norman, Sir Jehan, the Sieur De Blanchefontaine, are superbly realistic. With religious pilgrims tagging along, Molly's troop is attacked by bandits after they leave Osbert's inn and are forced to return to its safer confines. But the inn has been destroyed, every creature massacred. Both Molly and Nemain know something wicked haunts the North Country, but it isn't until they seek shelter from a blizzard in Castle Blanchefontaine that the two seers understand a shape-shifter, a beserker, runs amok. Nicholas' portrayal of Blanchefontaine and its inhabitants, from castellan to page, rings with authenticity. It slowly unfolds that the shape-shifter lurks among the castle refugees, and an epic battle unfolds. Nicholas' final chapters wind down the story and set young Hob on the path to become the warrior consort of Nemain, destined to return triumphantly to Eire. A hauntingly affecting historical novel with a touch of magic. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2012 April #2
In 1200s England, tough-minded Irishwoman Molly aims to lead her troupe across the mountains before the snows descend, but something scary is following them in the woods. Said to be resoundingly lyrical--Nicholas is an award-winning poet. [Page 58]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 April #5
Rich in historical detail, this suspenseful coming-of-age fantasy grabs the reader with the facts of life in medieval England and the magic spells woven into its landscape. Hob, a 13-year-old orphan, has found a place with the traveling troupe of Mistress Molly, an Irish medicine woman who can speak with crows. Traveling south before winter, Hob helps guide Molly's wagons while navigating the troubles of the road and the temptations of inns. Forced by rockslide and storm to seek shelter in Blanchefontaine, a Norman castle, the troupe soon realizes that the greatest danger, the Beast that has been harrowing the countryside, is now locked up inside with them. Debut novelist Nicholas brings a poetic turn to his prose (Molly hits a bull's-eye with a dagger the way "a gardener carelessly flicks a pebble away from a plot he is weeding") and introduces monks, Crusaders, tanners, foreign nobility, shape-shifters, and even oxen to bring his magical Middle Ages to splendid life. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC