An absolutely fabulous book! It took me awhile to warm up to it mostly because of slow, sparse world-building, but as soon as action shifted into the mortal world everything sped up and went from simply interesting to epic heroic.
Gillian wrote a type of realistic fantasy I particularly love. Sure, there is magic and weird creatures in Sithe world, but mostly they are like us apart from higher strength, mind reading and near immortality. There is an unhinged sociopathic evil queen who wants to rule mortals and destroy the Veil for good and there are clansmen fighting for their independence. Seth - a young outcast in McGregor's clan gets stuck in the middle of the political intrigues because of his love for his older half-brother, Conal, a chief of McGregor clan, and goes into exile with him when Conal displeases the queen.
They turn up in Scotland of 16th century right in the middle of rising witch hunts and experience a horrible atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia, ignorance, church overwhelming power, betrayal and shocking violence.
The characters is what really makes this book into something special. They are so alive, they literally jump off the page. Seth, Conal, Kate, Catriona and even old Ma Sinclair, - they are wonderfully done and very memorable, hence I recommend this book to any fan of realistic fantasy. The ending of the book is extremely exciting, nerve-wracking and heroic. I know I'll be reading the other 2 books in this trilogy very soon!