David C. Cook, Jun 28 2010, $14.99
In the sixth century in Alba, Brenna’s mother the powerful healing witch Queen Joanna of Gowrys abruptly awakens from a frightening vision of the destruction of her subclan caused by Chieftain Tarlach O'Byrne. The powerful Tarlach still rages at Joanna for her audacity to marry someone else when they were an obvious pairing due to ancestry. He has never forgiven her for defying their destiny by her marrying her beloved Llas. Tarlach leads the O’Byrne clan on a deadly vengeance, but before she dies Joanna curses him with the prediction that her offspring will divide his brood leading to peace for everyone.
Taking her death words gravely serious Tarlach hunts for Brenna who was taken to the woods by her cousin Ealga her nurse and raised there. When her surrogate mom Ealga dies, Brenna has no other human to talk to and her only companion is Faol the wolf. As they have done for two decades, the O’Byrne clan searches for Joanna's daughter. Tarlach’s heir Ronan leads the hunt, but he is hurt and dying. Brenna, a healer on a par with her late mom, saves his life, but by doing so exposes herself to her enemy.
The first Brides of Alba Christian Arthurian fantasy is a strong opening act that follows up nicely with a fresh arc from the Fires of Gleannmara trilogy. The story line is fast-paced for the most part especially when Ealga flees with her infant cousin to raise her safely in the woods and continues when the two clan heirs meet. The tale slows down a bit after Ronal heals, but regains speed into the final turn. Fans will relish the return to Linda Windsor’s strong Christian Arthurian mythos with the saga of the healer.