In a rich, complex epic set in a grim fantasy world, Tanith Lee explores in her distinctive style the excesses of religion as well as the dark pagan roots of earlier times. There are disturbing similarities between the rites of apparently conflicting beliefs – the blood and body of Christ and the divine blood of the World Tree.
While the Christerium might believe it wields the greater power and keeps the people under control through brutality and oppression, the older cunning ways lie hidden in every forest glade and in the hearts of those who worship the Great Tree, nourished by the blood of willing sacrifice. But then the Tree is destroyed, in the midst of a sacred rite, unleashing a potent and vengeful magic.
From the ruin of this atrocity, the enigmatic dark priest Anjelen arises. He deftly works his way into the heart of the Christerium, bewitching its most powerful administrators. He is like an angel, beautiful and charismatic – yet to be feared. People are drawn to follow him into any darkness he claims to be the Light of God. The rites he introduces to the inner cabal of the Christerium change all who take part in them, not least invoking a thirst for blood.
Characters with mysterious origins, damaged in body and mind, assemble to enact a world-changing drama. Anillia wakes within an old abbey, knowing she is 15 years old, but with no idea who she is or how she got there. She feels safe with the ageing nuns until sons of a local forest clan arrive at her sanctuary, claiming she is their sister, lost long ago in the woods. She is married off to a local clan leader, thereby becoming part of Anjelen’s plan. Mechail, the crippled son of a powerful forest lord is murdered yet rises from death to follow an unknown destiny. It seems he was never quite human to begin with. Jasha, a wild woods girl, more animal than human is drawn into Anjelen’s entourage, witness to strange and terrifying events, knowing she too has a part to play in the savage rites of blind belief and raw desire.
This vivid, macabre epic was only ever published in the UK in a hardback edition – to most readers it will be a completely new title, which Immanion Press is proud to present in two paperback volumes, with illustrations by Danielle Lainton and cover art by John Kaiine.
About the Author
Tanith Lee (1947¿2015) was a British writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. She was the author of more than 90 novels (including Wolf Tower and The Flat Earth series), 300 short stories (such as "When the Clock Strikes," from the collection Red as Blood), a children's picture book (Animal Castle), and many poems. She also wrote two episodes of the BBC science fiction series Blake's 7. Lee was married to artist and writer John Kaiine.