Shadows and Light (which many book places list incorrectly as The Shadows and the Light)
I have decided to review these novels by Anne Bishop at the same time as they are the second and third book in the Tir Alainn Trilogy and continue the story started in The Pillars of the World, which I reviewed here.
I could not stop reading these books. I think the last time I was this sucked into a fantasy series was The Mists of Avalon, years ago, though Martin came close. There is some implied instances of darkness these books, but they are free from some of the darker tendencies of Bishop’s other series.
This series, instead of trickling out as some series tend to do, grows and develops, concluding with a strong flourish. Bishop resists the urge to tie all the bows together in the end, but gives the reader enough to make some extrapolations. There is a war in this book and not everyone makes it through the fight. I like that.
There are some interesting themes in this series. The antagonist is a man who thinks that he is cleansing the evil of the world by killing witches and stripping women of their humanity. It is interesting to see the way Bishop creates an evil in the form of men who oppress women, the mob mentality that can cause witch hunts, and the way ordinary people can be dragged into sinister acts.
Highly Recommended: It is fantasy, but the themes might appeal to someone interested in fictional accounts of witch trials and similar situations.