PUBLISHER:Wizard's Tower Press

PUBLICATION DATE: March 19, 2018

PAGES: 368 

About the Book


A hundred years ago, a man with a secret could travel a few hundred miles and give himself a new name and life story. No one would be any the wiser, as long as he didn’t give anyone a reason to start asking questions. These days, that’s not so easy, with everyone on social media, and CCTV on every street corner. So Daniel Mackmain keeps his head down and keeps himself to himself.

But now a girl has been murdered and the Derbyshire police are taking a closer look at a loner who travels from place to place, picking up work as he goes. Worse, Dan realises the murder involves the hidden world he was born into. When no one else can see the truth, who will see justice done?

A modern fantasy rooted in the ancient myths and folklore of the British Isles.



This is one of those books that has been languishing at the back of my Kindle shelves for ages, unread and unloved, so I thought this year, I am definitely going to get on with it and get it read.

And I am so glad I did. I don’t know why I did not read it for so long as it has all the components that I love. I mean I adore stories that have British Folklore at its centre, and I particularly love The Green Man, Not only that, the book is set ‘up north’ and in areas that I am quite’s quite in familiar with.

The story itself revolves around Daniel Mackmain, the son of a dryad and a human who moves to Derbyshire for work as he is a carpenter. Whilst he is there, he is drawn into a murder investigation when the body of a young woman is found in some local woodland.

He subsequently comes into contact with another Dryad, who shows him that this is not the first time that this has happened and that the woods have been the home to a number of murders.

He becomes more involved with the case as he discovers that the murders are the work of another supernatural creature. This brings him into contact with all manner of other supernatural being that inhabit the local area.

I loved this book. Juliet McKenna has written a fantasy that mainly takes place in the rural areas around Derbyshire, and this is quite refreshing as usually when we see a modern fantasy story, the setting tends to revolve around an urban setting, but Juliet E. McKenna has gone for a rural location. It’s quite an interesting premise as McKenna does not make it the idyllic setting that you would expect and instead brings to the fore the socio-economic difficulties that are evident in rural communities. In quite a lot of instances, the setting is just as gritty as the sprawling cities that we normally see. We find ourselves in a world of drugs, sex workers and the other difficulties that rural environments experience, such as loss of workforce and failing businesses.

The main character, Daniel Mackmain is an interesting character too. He is quite the working-class hero rather than an upper-class hero and he will plan how he undertakes the tasks that the Green Man gives him rather than rushing headlong into a situation. In addition to that, we also get the difficulties that he experiences on a day-to-day basis such as finding work, or the effect that being involved with the police due to him being a person of interest of the atrocious crimes that have been committed, and subsequently how the rumour mill of a small community can cause difficulty.

Now one quibble that I did have with the book was that it was unexpectedly episodic and felt like two interconnecting novellas rather than one book as there is a denouement to the first part of the story about halfway through and then what seems to be a separate story that links with the first.

However, this was a minor thing and did not spoil my enjoyment of the story at all. I just had a little ‘what’s happening here’ moment.

I really loved the use of British Folklore in the story and seeing all the different types of creatures that McKenna incorporates into the story. This was an absolute delight, as I love the use of folklore in literature, particularly The Green Man who is a source of fascination for me (I even have a Green Man Face at the bottom of my garden which I got from a craft fair in Derbyshire, which is one of the sources of income that Daniel gets his money from).

Juliet E. McKenna’s writing is really good. It did not take me long to be drawn into the story. Her writing style is not overcomplicated which I found to be really effective and subsequently quite easy to read. She is able to write effortlessly about the everyday struggles that Daniel has, but she is also able to write really good action sequences.

As soon as I finished reading this, I wanted to carry on the story and move on to the next book in the series. I think there are six books so far in this series and I cannot wait to read some more of this story.


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