Good things come to those who wait. I’m not the only one who has been waiting for the next volume of the Red Abbey trilogy to be published.
Luckily Marja Kyrö’s Finnish translation of Maria Turtschaninoff’s Naondel came out with the Swedish original. Finnish readers can try a sample from the publisher, Tammi. While you’re waiting for the English translation, you could read Annie Prime’s translation the other volume, Maresi, published by Pushkin Press last new year.
This story is even darker than the first one. These are the chronicles of the foremothers of the abbey, a heterogonous group of extremely resilient women including a priestess, a dream-weaver, a soldier, a servant, and a prince(ss). They have to wait almost a lifetime to overcome a very violent man who gathers them together, seeking to take all their power to himself, and more, killing his daughters before they are born to raise only his sons.
Naondel is billed as YA fantasy, but the comparison to Ursula le Guin is apt. It did remind me of The Tombs of Atuan, but it’s not a classic coming-of-age-and-to-power-story. How many YA novels have old women heroines, too, especially ones who start out by falling into something they regret all their lives? And how many take this long to let them grow old, and for hope to triumph over hate, within as well as between characters?
Like the real fairy story tellers, Turtschaninoff doesn’t shy away from harsh realities like rape and slavery, though the magic is woven through the tale like a silver thread. It’ll have you spellbound. And impatient for volume three to be written…