|About the Book|
EYES IN THE FIRE (Para/Susp-Marian and Justin Dunne-England-Cont/Ancient Times – G+Grabien, Deborah – StandaloneSt. Martin’s Press, 1998, US Hardcover – ISBN: 0312033362First sentence: A light rain was falling on the M4, misting the road signs and slicking the asphalt.Marian and Julian Dunne have lived at Four Shields in Dartmoor for ten years. One a sunny day, Marian is in the kitchen when she is overcome by smoke but finds there is no trace of it once she recovers. Several days later, Julian falls asleep on the moors above the house. When he awakes, he finds his hand has been badly burned. Lun is a young Bronze-Age woman with unusual yellow eyes, married to a lower Druid priest. She senses power within herself and chafes at her tribes ruling that women may not wear priest robes. She sees the shade of an oddly dressed woman and believes it to be her goddess, while Julian fears for Marian’s safety as he sees physical transformations in her, including a yellowing of her eyes.There were some very good aspects to this book, the biggest being the level of suspense which starts at the beginning and carries all the way through. Grabien also provides an excellent sense of place, both in the past and in the present.The characters are well drawn and, for the most part, sympathetic. Dialogue is tricky- in present day it was fine but when you consider there is no way to represent Bronze Age dialogue with any degree of accuracy yet neither is it so discordant as to be annoying. Then there’s the plot. It is engrossing, interesting and fascinating to speculate until the ending.I understand where she was going with the ending but I also felt she’d rather written herself into a corner and didn’t know any other way to get out of it. For me, a different ending would have made a much more satisfying book. I very much enjoy Grabien’s “Haunted Ballad” series. However, this was Grabien’s first book and, in some ways, it shows.