A few years ago I read the first volume of Juliet Marillier's Sevenwaters Trilogy, Daughter of the Forest. It's a tale set in a semi-historical Ireland just around the time that Christianity is beginning to arrive and is loosely based on the traditional Grimm Brothers fairy tale of the Six Swans. I enjoyed it enough to want to read the rest of the trilogy, which I finally got to earlier this winter.
Son of the Shadows
Child of the Prophecy
Unlike many trilogies, this one actually got stronger as the series wore on, possibly because, once the maiden has finally succeeded in her long and lonely task of weaving the coats to turn her brothers back into human form, the preset material of the fairy tale is over with and Marillier begins to develop situations, plotlines and characters that, while certainly still well-grounded in Irish myth and tradition, are more surely her own imagining.
Marillier's tale follows three successive generations of the family of Colum of Sevenwaters and encompasses conflicts over land and power, issues of changing traditions and beliefs, and struggles between sorcerers and Druids, the Fair Folk and the Folk under the Earth, leading to a final confrontation that brings all the conflicts together in a culmination of a ages-old prophecy. Aside from her explorations of Celtic myth and tradition, what drew me into the trilogy was the fact that in all three volumes, the central protagonists are the women of Colum's family, who must each in her own way thread the balance between all the opposing forces until the time comes at last to choose and fulfil the prophecy.
In The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Marillier has written an enjoyable and interesting tale for those with a fondness for Irish or Celtic themed fantasy.