The Hounds of Ardagh
Laura J. Underwood
Five Star, Oct 2006, $25.95
Mageborn Ginny Ni Cooley is content living alone in her little cottage in Tamhasg Woods as she offers her services to her neighbors. Her mentor, Manus MacGreeley, has died and come back to the world as a ghost and since he doesn’t have a body the Mastermage cannot use magic. He needs to connect every day to cairn where is body lies to rest.. One night Ginny’s peace is disturbed when a pack of demon hounds chase a boy with a tale and a mane of hair on his spine.
The lad informs Ginny and Manus that his name is Fafne MacArdagh and his clan was celebrating turning in a traitor who plotted to overthrow the king. The next thing they know a blood mage appeared and killed everyone but Fafne who hunts this mass murderer. The blood mage was working with the traitor and cast the spell that kept the clan from testifying by turning them into hounds. This evil also has the way to give the soul of her husband, the laird of Don Elyn to the demon Annwn in exchange for deven more years of eternal youth. When the villainess steals the essence of Manus, Ginny vows to stop her though it may be too late as the malevolent mage’s spouse committed suicide.
THE HOUNDS OF ARDAGH is filled with plenty of action and magical battle scenes. The conversations between the ghost and the mageborn are loaded with repartee that hides their deep regard for one another. The villain is reminiscent of Snow White’s evil stepmother while the heroine is a loyal courageous person willing to risk her life for those she cherishes. Hopefully Laura J. Underwood provides future fantasy epics in Tamhasg Woods.