An epic fantasy adventure. Timothy Brennan is a bullied loner who lives with his abusive uncle in New Hampshire. He is bullied at school because he has what has been diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) though it sounds more like Tourette’s syndrome. Instead of an inability to sit still the disease causes him to twitch uncontrollably. After a terrible day at school Timothy goes home and begs Uncle Jim for medication. Jim’s cruel refusal sparks another attack which somehow breaks a glass and moves Timothy’s desk. All this plus the previous loss of his mother and the rejection of the girl he idolizes drives Timothy to the edge and he throws himself into the river.
Aenya saves Timothy from the river and nurses him back to health. She is a fairy or Sidhe who has lived alone in the wilderness since the death of her father in the American Civil War. After seeing Timothy heal a bird, she has been watching him, even going so far as to enroll in his school. While Aenya is explaining Timothy’s elven heritage, and trying to talk him into return to school, they are attacked and forced to flee.
The story follows Timothy’s journey to Sidhlin. There he learns that he is the first seventh son of a seventh son born since Arthur, as well as a direct descendant of Aylwen. The Elves believe this lineage makes it his destiny to re-found Alfheim. His main opposition is Cadwaladr who wants to re-forge Alfheim in his own image and then go conquer the humans. As Timothy fights Cadwaladr’s forces, who include his uncle, and learns the extent of his own powers he becomes a leader.
Gary Nilsen’s Alfheim is reminiscent of genre greats like Tamora Peirce’s Circle of Magic series. Nilsen’s novel hooks the reader on the first line and doesn’t let go. He leaves you waiting in breathless suspense for his next book. Timothy reminds this reader of Merlin from the Young Merlin series. Nilsen blends Arthurian myth with his own world building to create a unique view of the fey. This is an author to expect great things from.
Elizabeth Ramsay is an editor and education writer.