When I was twelve-years-old (yes, my Wild Things, I was not hatched old; it only seems that way) I was browsing the stacks at the Reidsville Public Library and found a slim paperback book entitled The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, by Patricia A. McKillip. It was my first fantasy, and that novel led me to Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, then to The Hobbit, and on to a life-long love of fantasy, folklore, and stories. Most importantly, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld made me a fan of Patricia A. McKillip and her bewitching, beautiful characters.
In the Forests of Serre is an enchanting novel that tells the tale of Ronan, crown prince of the land of Serre, who seeks death through war, because his grief over the loss of his wife and child has made his heart a barren thing. While riding home, Ronan accidentally kills the prized white hen of the oldest witch in Serre, Brume. Ronan refuses to enter Brume’s cottage of bones, and the witch places a curse on him that will cause him to wander the forest of Serre until he finds her once more.
Thread by thread, Ms. McKillip then weaves into her story the beautiful princess Sidonie; the ancient wizard Unciel; the brash, young wizard, Gyre; and the scribe, Euan. Each character plays a part in Ronan’s tale, and only Patricia McKillip could spin such an intricate yarn about grief, love, and what it means to steal a heart.
With her elegant prose and her rich characters, Ms. McKillip sweeps the reader into a fairy tale as colorful and elaborate as the Unicorn Tapestries. So I invite you to journey to the forest of Serre where “ you never know when and where a tale will become true . . .”