Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier may or may not be the last in this series. Originally planned as a trilogy, the characters of Blackthorn & Grim have reached a satisfying conclusion, and yet many readers are not ready for the series to end.
I liked Den of Wolves much more Tower of Thorns. The characters of Blackthorn and Grim have more depth and variety in this latest adventure, and again, Marillier melds plot, folklore, and myth in an intriguing way.
Grim separated from Blackthorn more than he would like when he undertakes the job of helping the crippled Bardan build the heartwood house for Tolas, the master of Wolf Glen and Cara's father. Grim takes pity on Bardan and is unhappy with the way he is treated by everyone at Wolf Glen. Grim, big of body and huge of heart, cannot leave Bardan unprotected.
Blackthorn is asked to befriend Cara, the child-woman who tells stories to trees while birds perch on her shoulders; who loves her father, but is more comfortable with Gorman, the forester who taught her to carve; who is sent away from her beloved Wolf Glen without understanding why; and who eventually reveals great strength under apparent fragility.
Mathuin, the Laois chieftan, remains a specter throughout the first of the novel, and while Blackthorn continues to fear that he has spies who will discover her whereabouts--the secrets of Wolf Glen dominate most of the story.
Near the end, however, the connection to Mathuin is renewed.
If Marillier chooses to let Blackthorn and Grim go for a while, Cuan and Segan and the rest of the Swan Island Warriors would make a fitting diversion. I would happily see these characters develop and have no doubt that the author would find fitting plots for them.
Read in Aug.; blog review scheduled for Oct. 17
NetGalley/Berkley Publishing Group
Fantasy/Myth. Nov. 1, 2016. Print length: 448 pages.