Alternative Worlds

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2015
Barbara Campbell
Daw, May 2005, $6.99, 432 pp.
ISBN 0756402905

The tribe of the Oak has suffered tremendous losses due to plague but they still intend to observe the midwinter ritual where the Oak-Lord and the Holly-lord battle. Oak defeats Holly so that spring will arrive. Darak the hunter is not looking forward to this ritual because his beloved brother Tinnean will become Tree-Brother, apprenticed to the Tree father and will owe his allegiance to his master instead of his family.

When it is time to travel to the dimension where the First Forrest lives, Darak refuses to join them and witness the loss of the brother who will be part of yet separate from the tribe. Something goes wrong at the ritual and the Oak and Tinnean disappear. Tinnean’s body is inhabited by the Holly-Lord while the Oak and Darak’s brother are in the land of Chaos, put there by the spirit of Morgoth, the evil Tree-Father, who held the position before Strauth killed him. Darak and his allies prepare to do battle to bring Tinnean back into his body and finish the rite so spring will return.

Think Jean Auel and Judith Tarr and readers will have some idea what HEARTWOOD is all about. The setting feels prehistoric with magic an everyday occurrence. Darak is a strong stubborn man who loves deeply and wants to keep those he cares about close to him safe; when his brother is in danger he is willing sacrifices himself to free his sibling from the enemy. Barbara Campbell creates characters readers will care about and produces a storyline that grabs reader interest.