The Pillars of the World by Anne Bishop
This is the first book in the Tir Alainn Trilogy. Bishopâ€™s first trilogy, The Black Jewels, won her acclaim and was a bestseller. I did not read the first trilogy, which is not connected with this one, but I think I might have to go back to them when I complete Tir Alainn. It has been a long time since I have liked a pure fantasy novel this much. It was one of those books that consumes you, instead of the other way around.
There are many things at work in this novel. The land of the Fae is disappearing into swirling white mists for reasons unknown. Roads leading to the human world are closing, cutting the Fae off from escape, though it does not occur to them that this is escape. A man, known as the Witchâ€™s Hammer, is traveling the land, ridding men of the evil influence of witches and the occasional outspoken woman. Finally, Ari, a young witch, alone on her familyâ€™s land after the death of her grandmother and mother, struggles to find her place in the world.
Of course, these things intersect by the time the novel has reached its conclusion, but the journey is wonderful. Bishop weaved common theories about witch trials into her creation of the Witchâ€™s Hammer and his ability to whip a city into a frenzied mob. The basic mythology of some versions of present day wiccan beliefs also find a home in this story. (from what little I know) Bishop also plays with some different ideas regarding elves and their relationships with humans.
With this sound background, Bishop adds to it a writing style that is engaging and characters that are true.
Highly Recommended: I loved this book, but it may not be for everyone; it is a fantasy novel, after all.