The book opens with Ash, out running in the mountains, training for the annual Stag Chase where he has the honour of being the Stag Boy – an honour that his soldier father himself bore in his time.
But all is not well. Ash’s father returns, shattered by the experience of war, casting a dark cloud over Ash and his feelings about the Stag Chase. But worse, strange things are stirring in the mountains – ghostly apparitions and strange happenings that cannot have an Earthly explanation – for the land is ailing, ravaged by sickness and drought, and the Old Ways are resurfacing, seeking blood.
This is an amazing debut. The powerful evocative writing brings the landscape to life in a way that can only be achieved by a writer who has a real connection with the countryside and history around them. Sara Crowe weaves a magical tale that moved me on many different levels. This was a book that compelled me to read it in one sitting and left me aching for more. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Sara Crowe is a writer to watch.