Author: Catherine M Wilson
Publisher: Shield Maiden Press
ISBN: 10 09815636 1 9

Click Here To Purchase When Women Were Warriors Book I

When Women Were Warriors Book I  marries historical fiction with fantasy in a saga about a matriarchal society of warring clans. Set in an undisclosed time in the past in the British Isles, Book I of the trilogy follows the life of a young girl pledged into the service of a powerful clan of warriors.

Tamras, the sixteen year old protagonist and narrator of the book is sent to the great house of Merin, where she plunges into a life of devoted service to the taciturn warrior Maara. Despite a rocky start, Tamras earns Maara’s trust, catches Merin’s eye and soon finds herself a warrior in training.

The book begins promisingly, introducing its spunky heroine and the house of Merin. Tamras is a child, yet clearly wise beyond her years and possessed of an independence of spirit that quickly sets her apart from her peers. She is blessed with foresight, and is capable of choosing loyalty over ambition, love over caution. Humour lurks in unexpected corners, mostly supplied by the wizened Gnith, playing a puckish Yoda to Tamras’ Skywalker. Intertwined with Tamras’ story is that of the mysterious Maara, struggling to find her place in the world. The novel is also peppered with legends from the mythical universe that sustains this strongly matriarchal society, even as it struggles to hold onto the uneasy peace it has brokered with its neighbouring tribes. Despite the dominance of women, this is still a society far from ideal, based as it is on territorial might and dominance of the weak. Warriors connive and jostle for supremacy; prisoners are brutally executed and young initiates are exploited sexually and forced into menial service.

For a book about warriors, there is very little war here — this is more social drama than adventure. Rather, its concern seems to be the internal conflicts each of the main characters struggles with— Maara is haunted by what she perceives as abandonment by her mother, Sparrow mourns the loss of a lover, while Tamras fumbles with her feelings for Maara and Sparrow. To its detriment, the narrative is quickly overshadowed by Tamras’ sexual relationship with Sparrow, and her feelings for Maara that seem far more than that of an apprentice. The tasks Maara and Tamras set out on never yield anything more than further proof of Tamras’ adolescent yearning and Maara’ s increasingly troubled psyche. By the end, the plot seems more on the side of overly sentimental chick lit than the historical fantasy, or gritty coming of age tale that the initial pages promise.

These are characters with potential in a compelling fantasy world, and I do hope that they find the adventures they deserve in the sequels to come.

Click Here To Purchase When Women Were Warriors Book I