Release date: February 2, 2016
Published by: DAW
Source: Provided by publisher
Author links: Site | Facebook | Twitter
It's 1800. Mad King George is on the British throne, and Bonaparte is hammering at the door. Magic is strictly controlled by the Mysterium, but despite severe penalties, not all magic users have registered.
Ross Tremayne, widowed, cross-dressing privateer captain and unregistered witch, likes her life on the high seas, accompanied by a boatload of swashbuckling pirates and the possessive ghost of her late husband, Will. When she pays a bitter deathbed visit to her long-estranged mother she inherits a half brother she didn't know about and a task she doesn't want: open the magical winterwood box and right an ancient wrong—if she can.
Enter Corwen. He's handsome, sexy, clever, and capable, and Ross doesn't really like him; neither does Will's ghost. Can he be trusted? Whose side is he on?
Unable to chart a course to her future until she's unraveled the mysteries of the past, she has to evade a ruthless government agent who fights magic with darker magic, torture, and murder; and brave the hitherto hidden Fae. Only then can she hope to open the magical winterwood box and right her ancestor's wrongdoing. Unfortunately, success may prove fatal to both Ross and her new brother, and desastrous for the country. By righting a wrong, is Ross going to unleash a terrible evil? Is her enemy the real hero and Ross the villain?
The first installment in Bedford's Rowankind series is an original, imaginative fantasy debut with a brave, admirable heroine and an interesting cast of secondary characters.
The story is full of magic and mystery and features a variety of supernatural creatures. It also keeps a steady pace and has just enough action-packed scenes to keep the entertainment flowing.
I found myself hooked by the first chapter and quickly fell in love with the protagonist, Ross. Losing her husband didn't stop her from continuing a life of danger and adventure on the high seas. She assumed the role of Captain Redbeard Tremayne, dressing the part and taking control of the Heart and her crew.
My only complaint is that I wasn't particularly impressed by the romance that develops throughout the story. I was initially intrigued by the introduction of the ghost of Ross' husband and liked the idea of him sticking by her side, even after death. But as her relationship progressed with another man, her husband's presence just became awkward and all I could do was feel sorry for him.
Winterwood wraps up nicely and reads as if it's a standalone. Once I was finished, I had to double check to make sure that this would be an ongoing series. I've since discovered that the sequel has a title (Silverwolf) but I have yet to see a synopsis. I'm anxious to read about what's next in the Rowankind series and I'm happy to have a new author to follow.