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Marillier, Juliet 1948–

Marillier, Juliet 1948–

PERSONAL:

Born July 27, 1948, in Dunedin, New Zealand; children: two sons, two daughters. Education: Otago University, B.A., B.Mus. (with honors).

ADDRESSES:

Home—Perth, Western Australia. Email—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Also worked as a teacher and lecturer of music history, and as a professional singer and choral conductor.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Readers' Choice Award for best fantasy novel, Romantic Times, 2000, and Alex Award, American Library Association, both for Daughter of the Forest; Aurealis Award for fantasy novel, 2000, for Son of the Shadows, and 2007, for Wildwood Dancing; Aurealis Award, 2005, for Blade of Fortriu.

WRITINGS:

"SEVENWATERS" TRILOGY

Daughter of the Forest, Macmillan (South Melbourne, Australia), 1999, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Son of the Shadows, Pan Macmillan (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2000, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Child of the Prophecy, Pan Macmillan (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2001, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2002.

"BRIDEI CHRONICLES" SERIES

The Dark Mirror, Tor (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2004, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Blade of Fortriu, Tor (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2005, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2006.

The Well of Shades, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2007.

OTHER

Wolfskin, Tor (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2002, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Foxmask, Macmillan (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2003, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Wildwood Dancing, Pan Macmillan (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2006, Knopf (New York, NY), 2007.

Cybele's Secret, Pan Macmillan (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2007.

Contributor to books, including Quests and Tests, edited by Paul Collins and Meredith Costain, Pearson Education (South Melbourne, Australia), 2002, The Road to Camelot, edited by Sophie Masson, Random House Australia (Milsons Point, Australia), 2002, and Elemental, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2006. Contributor of stories to Realms of Fantasy and Woman's Day.

SIDELIGHTS:

On her Web site, Juliet Marillier shares how the Scottish settlers of her birth place, Dunedin, New Zealand, influenced her interest in things Celtic. "I grew up surrounded by Celtic music and stories, so it's not surprising I ended up with a lifelong affinity for history and folklore," the author remarked. "The threads of traditional storytelling are woven strongly into the fabric of my work."

Daughter of the Forest, her first published novel and the first installment in her "Sevenwaters" trilogy, is set in ancient Ireland. It is the story of Sorcha, the only daughter and youngest of the seven children of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Their wicked stepmother, Lady Oonagh, transforms her brothers into swans. Only Sorcha can restore her brothers by weaving them each a shirt from a plant that tears her skin to shreds. Library Journal reviewer Jackie Cassada called Daughter of the Forest "a rich and vibrant novel that belongs in most fantasy collections." A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote: "Marillier is a fine folklorist and a gifted narrator who has created a wholly appealing and powerful character in this daughter of the forest."

In Son of the Shadows, Sorcha's daughter Liadan has a gift of seeing and hearing what others cannot. She is also a healer of mind, body, and spirit. Her gift results in a meeting with a mercenary and enemy of her family. Liadan comes to love this man, but she realizes that the love cannot be fulfilled. Reviewing the book for the Library Journal, Jackie Cassada noted: "Marillier blends old legends with original storytelling to produce an epic fantasy." Booklist critic Patricia Monaghan commented: "Marillier's virtuosic pacing and vivid, filmic style make this an engaging continuation" of Daughter of the Forest.

One year later, the third volume of the trilogy, Child of the Prophecy, appeared, described by Booklist reviewer Monaghan as "a rousing page-turner, a heady blending of romance, magic, and battle." Unbeknownst to the Sevenwaters clan, the exiled Niamh, sister to Liadan, gave birth to a daughter, Fainne, after falling in love with a druid. Fainne has been trained as a sorceress by her wicked grandmother, Lady Oonagh, to return to her mother's people and help destroy them. Though she believes that her Sevenwaters relatives may have been partly responsible for her mother's death, Fainne hesitates to complete Lady Oonagh's plan to destroy them. Only with threats made to her father's life does the young woman try to defeat the Sevenwaters, bringing about a spectral battle, in a "fitting conclusion to one of the best recent fantasy sagas," continued Monaghan. About this final book of the series, a Publishers Weekly contributor thought the author "gathers the threads" of the first books and "weaves them together into a rich tapestry of love and loss, family loyalty and personal sacrifice."

The life and legacy of Eyvind fills the pages of two books by Marillier, Wolfskin and Foxmask. As a teenager, Eyvind's only desire is to become a Viking warrior and go into battle to honor the god of war, Thor. To please his adored elder brother Eirik, a beserk warrior or Wolfskin, young Eyvind befriends Somerled, sibling of warrior chieftain, Ulf. Though he distrusts the dark streak in Somerled's character, Eyvind becomes his blood brother. In time Eyvind also excels as a Wolfskin warrior. The two then set off with Ulf and the other warriors in search of new lands to conquer and find the peaceful Folk of the Light Isles. Reaching a truce with King Engus, the Vikings and the islanders initially coexist peacefully, a balance that comes to an end as a deadly fever affects the natives, allowing the opportunistic Somerled the chance to gain power. As his blood brother, Eyvind must decide whether to side with Somerled or with the Folk, particularly the young Nessa, a priestess with whom the young Wolfskin has fallen in love. Writing in Booklist, Paula Luedtke described Wolfskin as "an engrossing, beautifully written work of historical fiction," while Kliatt contributor Ginger Armstrong believed that Marillier is a "master at creating characters with depth and … an engaging storyteller who knows how to intrigue her audience."

Somerled's son, Thorvald, is the focus of Foxmask. Raised by his mother in a peaceful village and a friend of Creidhe, the daughter of Eyvind, Thorvald looks to find the truth about his exiled father. Thorvald asks a local fisherman to sail him to the land where he believes his father lives, and he is unknowingly accompanied by Creidhe, who stows away in the boat. Blown off course and reaching a desolate island in desperate shape, the trio must help the islanders break a curse killing all of the newborns. While a few reviewers noted that the novel begins slowly, most concluded the pace quickens by the end of the story, including a Publishers Weekly critic who thought "the pace picks up nicely in the novel's second third and barrels onward to a rousing finish." Luedtke again found favor with Marillier's tale in Booklist, calling Foxmask "another great story full of well-developed characters from this fine fantasist."

Begun in 2005, the "Bridei Chronicles" take up the saga of Bridei, a child destined to rule a land reminiscent of early Scotland. Raised by druids and groomed to be king from the age of four in The Dark Mirror, Bridei takes delight in his elfin childhood companion, Tuala. As the two mature, the young leader looks to make the strong-natured Tuala his queen, but first he must convince his skeptical druid teachers that the couple's pairing will bring together the divided country. The second book in the series, Blade of Fortriu, finds Bridei looking to build an alliance with a local ruler, Alpin. Bridei sends him a bride to earn his favor. Accompanying the bride Ana is Faolan, a spy for Bridei. When disaster strikes their expedition, they face a desperate struggle for survival. Calling The Dark Mirror a "captivating tale," Booklist critic Luedtke thought "Marillier excels at breathing life into the past." A Publishers Weekly contributor also applauded the author's skills in Blade of Fortriu, claiming: "Skilled world-building and characterization set Marillier's historical fantasy at the head of the pack."

In The Well of Shades, Bridei sends his advisor, Faolan of the Ui Neill clan, to search for the cleric whose teachings threaten the kingdom's unity. The journey forces Faolan to confront some dark secrets from his past—and also gives him guardianship of his dead comrade Deord's teenage daughter, Eile, and her young child. When Faolan brings Eile to Bridei's court, they discover that the king's half-fey son, Derelei, is in danger. A writer for Publishers Weekly found this third installment in the series "captivating." As Matthew L. Moffett observed in a School Library Journal review, Marillier "makes grand use of the historical and mythological stories of Scotland to create a gripping page-turner."

In the standalone novel Wildwood Dancing, Marillier combines several elements of folklore and mythology: a portal into an Other Kingdom; trolls and fairies; an animal companion; and vampires. The story centers on fifteen-year-old Jenica, who with her four sisters and pet frog escapes from their father's Transylvanian estate every month during the night of the full moon to enter the Other Kingdom and dance with the fairies. When their father falls sick and must leave home to recuperate in a warmer climate, Jenica takes charge of the house and business. The sisters' cousin Cezar, however, begins to make trouble by challenging Jenica's authority and making efforts to destroy the Other Kingdom. The plot is further complicated by the romance that blossoms between Jenica's older sister Tatiana and Sorrow, who belongs to the mysterious and feared Night People. A writer for Kirkus Reviews described the story as an "entrancing rush of romance," while Holly Koelling, writing in Booklist, hailed Wildwood Dancing as a "compelling" blend of fantasy elements that has "much to say about human nature and choice."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 2000, Patricia Monaghan, review of Daughter of the Forest, p. 1534; April 1, 2001, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Daughter of the Forest, p. 1461; May 15, 2001, Patricia Monaghan, review of Son of the Shadows, p. 1738; February 15, 2002, Patricia Monaghan, review of Child of the Prophecy, p. 999; May 15, 2003, Paula Luedtke, review of Wolfskin, p. 1652; July, 2004, Paula Luedtke, review of Foxmask, p. 1829; May 1, 2005, Paula Luedtke, review of The Dark Mirror, p. 1577; February 1, 2007, Holly Koelling, review of Wildwood Dancing, p. 43.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March 1, 2007, April Spisak, review of Wildwood Dancing, p. 302.

Horn Book, March 1, 2007, Lauren Adams, review of Wildwood Dancing, p. 197.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2003, review of Wolfskin, p. 714; June 1, 2004, review of Foxmask, p. 522.

Kliatt, March, 2006, Ginger Armstrong, review of Foxmask, p. 30; January, 2005, Ginger Armstrong, review of Wolfskin, p. 20; December 1, 2006, review of Wildwood Dancing, p. 1223; January, 2007, Donna Scanlon, review of Wildwood Dancing, p. 16.

Library Journal, May 15, 2000, Jackie Cassada, review of Daughter of the Forest, p. 129; May 15, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of Son of the Shadows, p. 167; March 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Child of the Prophecy, p. 111; May 15, 2003, Jackie Cassada, review of Wolfskin, p. 131; August, 2004, Jackie Cassada, review of Foxmask, p. 73.

Locus, April, 2000, Faren Miller, review of Daughter of the Forest, p. 23.

Publishers Weekly, April 17, 2000, review of Daughter of the Forest, p. 57; April 16, 2001, review of Son of the Shadows, p. 49; May 5, 2003, review of Wolfskin, p. 205; February 4, 2004, review of Child of the Prophecy, p. 58; July 15, 2004, review of Foxmask, p. 48; June 6, 2005, review of The Dark Mirror, p. 45; September 11, 2006, review of Blade of Fortriu, p. 39; January 22, 2007, review of Wildwood Dancing, p. 186; February 26, 2007, review of The Well of Shades, p. 65.

School Library Journal, February, 2007, Donna Rosenblum, review of Wildwood Dancing, p. 124; July, 2007, Matthew L. Moffett, review of The Well of Shades, p. 129.

Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 2000, Marsha Valance, review of Daughter of the Forest, p. 362; February 1, 2007, Sarah Flowers, review of Wildwood Dancing, p. 542; April 1, 2007, Sarah Flowers, review of The Well of Shades, p. 67.

ONLINE

Juliet Marillier Web site,http://www.julietmarillier.com (January 11, 2008).

Sheryl McFarlane's Teen Blog,http://readingkidsbooks-teenreads.blogspot.com/ (January 11, 2008), review of Wildwood Dancing.

Writer Unboxed,http://writerunboxed.com/ (January 11, 2008), Therese Walsh, interview with Juliet Marillier.

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