Wildfire A Novel by Sarah Micklem
This novel is about a woman in a fantasy setting named Firethorn. It is the second book in a trilogy. I liked the first book, Firethorn. I rather like that the main character survives by her wits. She is the concubine of a knight who follows him to war. There is magic in this novel, but not the magic of blessed swords and wizards throwing lightning bolts. Firethorn is a healer and is sometimes touched by visions and dreams. She also comes from a conquered people.
The novel is very visceral. There is a lot of violence and sex (often artfully described, maybe with a hint of the Kama Sutra) . Also because the main character is a healer, we get descriptions of diseased people being cured with herbs, or women giving birth. The descriptions in the writing seem to draw from history. I can recognize ideas or images from the myths and history of India, Japan, the Celts, and the Germanic peoples.
The novel is full of surprises. At one point the main character is a bonds woman in a foreign land and eventually rises to become a courtesan. It does not end in the way I expected at all.
This novel is quite literary. It feels like it was very well researched. The descriptions are often very intense; being bitten by poisonous snakes, collecting herbs by the river beds, praying to Ardor Hearthfire, divining with finger bones.
Wildfire is 519 pages long making it an epic tome. It was hard to put down at points. It is not a typical novel at all. I like the cover art for the novel. I also liked the poetry and the few drinking songs in the novel. The authors background in graphic design shows in how well the novel is paced and laid out. Publishers Weekly gave this book a starred review.