Sinéad O’Hart's 'The Silver Road' is an absolute triumph; a love letter to Ireland's magical mythology and a dazzling fantasy in the tradition of the finest storytellers from Alan Garner to Susan Cooper. Every sentence sings with silver, treading the road between the grandly mythic and the modern. I was enthralled and imaginatively reinvigorated. Thank you Sinéad O’Hart - 'The Silver Road' is up there as one of my books of the year.
The seandraiocht - the Old Magic - isn't remembered like it once was. Its power is fading... When Rose is entrusted with a powerful stone by a Frost Giant, she is swept into an adventure full of danger. The stone can be used for great good or great evil, depending on its keeper. It leads Rose to discover the magic that runs through all of Ireland. A magic that is threaded together beneath the land: the Silver Road. But the Silver Road is under threat...
I am a huge fan of Catherine Doyle's 'The Storm Keeper's Island' trilogy. 'The Silver Road' is cut of the same cloth, sewing together a tale of danger and darkness in modern times as the spectres of Irish mythology rise again. Sinéad O’Hart bravely and brilliantly plays with and reinvents this mythology to profound imaginative effect. And there is something deeper about her work here than her other books. It is clear that the influence of Alan Garner has touched Sinéad's soul: imagery is just lucid and stirring, dialogue grounds and drives, and the sense of the mystic, of history and folklore conjures a spell just as powerfully. Having re-read Garner's work this summer with the HarperCollins re-releases, I can, of course, see 'The Silver Road's links to 'Elidor'. Sinéad O’Hart, though, daringly reclaims the myth (particularly of the Treasures) for Ireland, and deservedly so. My wife's family has roots in Ireland and my daughter is called Órla - when she's older I can't think of a better book to introduce her to Ireland's rich and wonderful dreamscape.
I will need to re-read 'The Silver Road', as I feel that it is bigger than the sum of its parts. Just as re-reading 'Elidor' offers something new with each re-read. 'The Silver Road' deserves all the accolades it can get. Sinéad O’Hart is a total inspiration.