Review: The Falcons of Fire and Ice by Karen Maitland

I finally finished reading this book a few days ago, and then eventually managed to get a decent internet connection, so at last I can post this review.

‘The Falcons of Fire and Ice’ interweaves the lives of a cast of Icelandic and Portuguese characters in a supernatural adventure.

Isabela must save her father from the machinations of the Inquisition, or risk losing everything. After the king’s prized gyrfalcons are discovered dead she is given a year and a day to replace them. She must travel to Iceland alone.

Cruz is a crook, but the Inquisition have a job for him, a job he can not refuse. He must prevent Isabela from acquiring the falcons. She must die or he will.

Eyedis and Valdis are twins condemned to life chained in a cave, dispensing healing and advice to the people of Iceland. Eyedis must help Isabela find her gyrfalcons, but she needs Isabela’s help in return – to defeat the spirit lurking in Valdis.

Set in a time of religious upheaval and intolerance, the live of these people are inextricably linked. They must defeat monsters out of myth, human monstrosity and save hundreds of innocent lives. But the mountains are stirring and time is running out.


It took me a while to get in to this book, but once the characters make it to Iceland the momentum builds and it becomes a thoroughly enjoyable adventure though early modern Europe. The glossary at the end is also very interesting, and helps to fill in any gaps in understanding that exist.