(SUPER DUPER SPOILERIFICNESS AHEAD. If you haven’t read Feast of Fates, I’d suggest doing so before reading this recap. Or if you just want to dive into the 2nd book and skip all the preamble, this could be the perfect post for you!)
Well, here we are. Down to the wire now. Book two in the Four Feasts Till Darkness series launches on the 10th of July in both physical and digital formats. To get you ready for your next dive into Geadhain, I thought that I’d give your brains a refresher on the events of the 1st novel. Four Feasts Till Darkness is a sprawling work, with a number of threads to remember. It’s understandable if you’ve forgotten a few 🙂 Here you are then, a Feast of Fates Editorial Synopsis (with some added mentions at the end).
In the tale’s prologue, a solitary woman, Eean, rushes through the primal, dangerous forest of Alabion, hurrying to return home to her kin before her time—her hourglass—is up. She navigates the perils and mysteries of this land, contemplating the last moments of her life, savouring the beauty and toil of it all, knowing that she will soon be dead—for a time, at least. For she is no ordinary mortal, but one of the Sisters Three, a group of ageless beings each of whom has power over destiny. We meet her sisters: Elemech, the middle-aged one, is the reader of fate, a seer. Ealasyd, the golden haired and youngest, is the one who creates objects of fate for her sister to read. As the eldest, the wanderer, Eean acts as the hand of fate, shaping and influencing events. And when she dies, her passing prompts a vision in Elemech that foreshadows events that will shape this tale: a war between the Immortal Kings, the quest of Morigan—the heroine—and Caenith, the man who is not quite a man. The Sisters anoint Eean’s corpse and deliver it to the forest, but this does not mark her end: Eean will return to life again as a child inside one of the two remaining women so that the cycle of their being can continue. Before her body is tossed from a cliff, a breath leaves Eean. This breath is Eean’s final act, an attempt to influence the dark events that are unfolding in this world, known as Geadhain; it will trigger various seemingly minuscule phenomena that will have far-reaching consequences.
The Sisters Three are key to the story: they are the structural and thematic heart of its pattern, weaving together its strands. We will revisit them many times throughout the story as they share their enigmatic parables and lessons about life and death and provide further haunting insights about what is to come.
In the following chapters, we move to and explore Eod, the City of Wonders. Ruled by Magnus—one of the two Immortal Kings of Geadhain—Eod is a metropolis of technomagik (think science meets sorcery) and unparalleled wealth and bounty that rises in the middle of a vast desert. Here we meet Morigan, a headstrong, witty, and charming young woman who works as handmaiden to elderly sorcerer Thackery, as her mother did before. While searching for an obscure ingredient for one of Thackery’s alchemies, she encounters a gifted smith named Caenith, who possesses an almost magikal aptitude for weaponcraft. It is apparent from the start that he is not what he seems, and we learn that he is not entirely human. He is, in fact, an ancient changeling—part man, part gigantic wolf—who has been hiding in Eod to escape his past. Morgian and Caenith are inescapably drawn to one another by a compulsion that transcends mere lust, and we explore the city while the two unravel the mystery of their profound connection. Through Morigan, the Wolf rediscovers much of the pride and joy of life—or “the hunt” as he calls it—and begins to confront the demons of his past. In turn, the Wolf helps Morigan confront her buried pain and the injustice of losing her mother.
During the opening chapters we also meet Morigan’s master, Thackery. The childless and unmarried sorcerer looks on Morigan as a daughter, but he has never shared with her the details of his tragic and wicked past. His fatherly concern grows as Morigan becomes increasingly engrossed in her passion for the Wolf, and suspicions and clashing wills mar the relationship between two men, as each can sense the truth of the other’s hidden nature.
Morigan finds herself wrestling with revelations of her own, for her encounter with Caenith has ignited a spark of magik within her. She finds herself beset by visions, able to walk in the thoughts and memories of others. Wild and uncontrollable at first, her gift hints at tremendous powers of fate and foresight, suggesting echoes of the Sisters Three. And what she sees of the present and future could mean Geadhain’s doom: a terrible madness has taken hold of the second of the Immortal Kings, Brutus of the Summerlands, which lie to the south. Her visions reveal that a similar madness afflicts Magnus of Eod, who is tied to the fate and soul of his brother by bonds stronger than those of blood. The two Kings, elemental forces who function almost as divinities in this world, have ensured order in Geadhain; strife between them would bring a great unbalance to all things and plunge the land into turmoil and war. Through her gift, Morigan is forced to witness the sundering of their bond and the descent of Geadhain into bloodshed. The darkness she has seen casts her out of her simple life and plunges her into a conflict of ageless grudges and hates that will determine the fate of her world.
Certain that his brother has been twisted by evil, Magnus sets off with a party of soldiers for Zioch, the City of Gold, hoping for reconciliation but prepared for battle. Ready to exploit the growing instability and changing allegiances are other players with agendas of their own. Menos, the City of Iron, a tecknomagikal empire ruled by bitter enemies of Magnus, sees this as its opportunity to strike against Eod. Gloriatrix, its self-declared Iron Queen, is pursuing her own wicked designs while plotting a more personal kind of vengeance against her brother, Thackery, who long ago betrayed his nation and brought her husband to his death. Other more shadowy forces are also pulling strings behind the scenes—we’re aware of their existence, but their interests and plans remain obscure. In Menos, we meet Mouse, a Voice for the Watchers—an agency of espionage that operates in the shadows of Geadhain. A young woman with a complicated past, she does not seem to be the stuff of heroes—but that will all change after she crosses paths with the Broker, a dealer in human flesh and misery; Gloriatrix’s son Sorren, a twisted nekromancer; and Vortigern, a once-dead man who holds the secrets of her birth. Her resemblance to a woman long dead brings her to Sorren’s attention, and when her attempt at escape is thwarted, she becomes his prisoner.
Morigan is thrust into the centre of all these fates, for her new-found powers make her a target of Menos and the Iron Queen. After she is kidnapped by Sorren, the Wolf and Thackery race across the length of Geadhain to save her. While encountering both future allies and enemies, their shared love for Morigan creates a bond between them. Morigan, though, is no helpless maiden in need of rescue. She has been imprisoned with Mouse, and while the Wolf and the sorcerer are battling tyrants and specters to reach her, she uses her gift to break into her captors’ minds and rip out the information she needs to free herself and her companion. Accompanied by Vortigern and one of the Broker’s former henchmen, they find themselves on the run in Menos, locked in a deadly game of cat and mouse with the forces of the Iron Queen. In order to escape Menos—and the vengeance of Gloriatrix, Sorren, and the Broker—they will need all the help they can get from the Wolf and Thackery.
While the peril of these characters has been mounting, Magnus has continued marching south to war. The journey is long and painful, as Magnus witnesses the atrocities his brother has committed and the damage he has inflicted on the land. An ageless man, he often reflects on his ancient, deep-rooted love for his brother—an emotion now warping into hate. As the book comes to a close, Magnus reaches Zioch; although it seems for a time that Magnus’s love will turn Brutus from his dark path, the evil that has infected his brother triumphs, and at last we see the force that controls him: an entity known as the Black Queen. The Kings clash in a storm of fire, ice, and blood, and Brutus defeats Magnus by unleashing her powers.
Magnus’s downfall sends shockwaves throughout Geadhain. Morigan, Caenith, and their new allies finally unite after a harrowing race to find each other in Menos and a confrontation with Sorren and Gloriatrix, but there is no time for celebration: their world has been unmade through a rain of fire and hail. They find themselves now in a raw, ruined land. Only one path is open to them: they must set off on a new quest to find the Sisters Three and uncover the secrets that will wake Geadhain from its nightmare.
Feast of Fates explores the demands of mortality and fate. It is a tale of contrasts—dark and light, life and death, love and hate, technology and nature. But it is also compulsively readable—propelled by vivid, fully realized characters and action sequences and leavened by moments of humour. Finally, at its heart, this book is about love, whether twisted to hate or shining bright, and what people will do to earn and defend it.
– Mouse is Vortigern’s daughter, which makes the Iron Queen her (nasty) grandmother.
– Kanatuk and Macha are two indigenous people of separate tribes who are saved and befriended by the bloodmates. Their tale is not yet over…
– It is revealed about in the book that Sorren is under the influence of a powerful, dark force that is not the Black Queen. Rather, his master is something that seeks to destroy the Black Queen and has its own agenda with Morigan and fate.
I can’t wait to share my latest work with you!
All my love,
P.S. There’s no time like the present to post a Feast of Fates review! I appreciate all your feedback and support. If you’re so inclined, links can be found below.