Hidden away from the world by his mother, the powerful sorceress Heloise Oliver, Pierce has grown up working in her restaurant in Desolation Point. One day, unexpectedly, strangers pass through town on the way to the legendary capital city. Look for us, they tell Pierce, if you come to Severluna. You might find a place for yourself in King Arden s court.
Lured by a future far away from the bleak northern coast, Pierce makes his choice. Heloise, bereft and furious, tells her son the truth: about his father, a knight in King Arden s court; about an older brother he never knew existed; about his father s destructive love for King Arden s queen, and Heloise s decision to raise her younger son alone.
As Pierce journeys to Severluna, his path twists and turns through other lives and mysteries: an inn where ancient rites are celebrated, though no one will speak of them; a legendary local chef whose delicacies leave diners slowly withering from hunger; his mysterious wife, who steals Pierce s heart; a young woman whose need to escape is even greater than Pierce s; and finally, in Severluna, King Arden's youngest son, who is urged by strange and lovely forces to sacrifice his father s kingdom.
Things are changing in that kingdom. Oldmagic is on the rise. The immensely powerful artifact of an ancient god has come to light, and the king is gathering his knights to quest for this profound mystery, which may restore the kingdom to its former glory or destroy it..."
McKillip's typically gorgeous prose shines as it serves the plot of this complex and witty story of contemporary knights and post-Celtic deities in a fantastical version of our world. When Pierce decides to leave his tiny village to seek out his knight father, his first stop is an all-you-can-eat fish fry that turns out to be a mystical ceremony. Carrie learns that her father can become a wolf and gets hired by a local chef who's more than what he seems. Young Prince Daimon learns of his own mysterious heritage as he gets called to a quest. The mix of ancient gods and chivalry with contemporary technology such as cell phones and cars requires a deft touch, but McKillip (Wonders of the Invisible World) makes it work, throwing in sly jokes and delicious-sounding culinary concoctions amid the heroic adventuring. McKillip makes contemporary fantasy feel exciting and new again.