Monday, November 10, 2008

Chalice by Robin McKinley

Mirasol is a beekeeper, brought up on a small woodlot in the corner of Willowlands. She knows little of the manor house and the Master’s Circle that governs their lands. When the Master and his Chalice die in a fire without naming heirs, Willowlands is thrown in to turmoil, but Mirasol barely has time to notice as her goats are producing vast amounts of milk and honey literally pours out of her beehives, leaving her little time to care for the woodlot.  So, when the Circle come to her cottage, she believes they will send her away for her poor tending of the land she holds, but instead she discovers she is to be the new Chalice, the most important member of the Master’s Circle.  She will be the one who binds the Circle, land and people together and creates harmony among them.

Although ill prepared for her new life and uncomfortable in the presence of the other members of the circle, Mirasol wants their new Master to have a fair chance. But how can she reconcile the demesne and it's Master when the Master is a Priest of Fire, taken from his training by the death of his older brother, a man whose very nature is fire and whose touch burns flesh to the bone?
This enchanting retelling of beauty and the beast, smoothly weaves together a tale of magic, healing and honey.

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