When Teyth was but a child, a cruel prince took over his village, building a great granite tower to rule over the folk. Greedy and capricious, the man will be the bane of Teyth’s existence as an adult, but as a boy, Teyth is too busy escaping his stepfather to worry about his ruler.
Sold into apprenticeship to the local blacksmith, Teyth finds that what was meant as a punishment is actually his salvation. Cairsten, the smith, and Diarmuid, his adopted son, are kind, and the smithy is the prosperous heart of a thriving village. As Teyth grows in the craft of metalwork, he also grows in love for Diarmuid, the gentle, clever young man who introduces him to smithing.
Their prince wants Diarmuid too. As the tyrant inflicts loss upon loss on Teyth and Diarmuid, Teyth's passion for his craft twists into obsession. By the time Teyth resurfaces from his quest to create immortality, he’s nearly lost the love that makes being human worth the pain. Teyth was born to sculpt his emotion into metal, and Diarmuid was born to lead. Together, can they keep their village safe and sustain the love that will make them immortal?
This book is insanely beautiful. But it will break you.
So much angst, hurt, tears. I was drowning in it.
There are debts you cannot repay, and debts you can repay in the worst of ways. And debts you incur just by living. The scale has yet to be forged that would measure what I owe.
This isn't sweet fantasy. It's fantasy with a purpose, fantasy that mirrors your life, my life, pain and loss.
Teyth, sold by his hateful, abusive step-father, has suffered much in his short ten years.
But his "slavery" is his freedom.
Under the tutelage of the gruff blacksmith and his apprentice Diarmuid, Teyth (whose name means Silence) learns about sculpting with fire, about beauty and lust, friendship and family. About love.
Teyth and Diarmuid, who is six years Teyth's seniors, are raised like brothers. But brothers they are not.
The village of Immortal is ruled by a capricious, cruel prince who uses the people for his gain and pleasure. Moments of joy are short-lived and tinged by the brutality of fighting and surviving. The foreshadowing hints at terror and grief, so we know that each moment is to be savored before it's destroyed.
Teyth, the first-person narrator of the novel, is a child for a third of the story. He watches Diarmuid coupling with another. He longs and he yearns. And he gets. Finally, finally, he gets. Only to lose.
This were the clang of the forge, the rising of the sun on yer face, the taste o' life-giving water, the smoky air o' autumn--all in this man's touch.
I don't want to say more about the plot.
This book is big. It's creative. I didn't necessarily enjoy reading it, but I can't fault it.
A warning to non-native speakers of English: Lane writes in a sort of English "dialect" to seep us in the time/place. I'm a language nerd, so it didn't bother me, but it's not particularly easy to read.
And what about the ending, you ask? The title of the book is the answer. It's not a roses and rainbows HEA. But there's redemption of sorts, a drop of sweetness. It's enough.