Newbery Award-winning author Robin McKinley tells a beguiling tale about two highly unlikely leaders that celebrates the healing powers of love and honey.
Mirasol is a beekeeper. She tends her small woodlot in an obscure corner of Willowlands, and looks after her bees. The earthlines speak to her, but this is not unusual; they speak to many members of the old families. The concerns of Master, Chalice, and their Circle, who govern Willowlands, are nothing to do with her, although the rumours of this Masterís wildness, and his Chaliceís inability to bind him with their Circle, are troubling.
And then the Master and Chalice die in a fire--and Willowlands is thrown into chaos, for Master and Chalice had no declared heirs to take up their crucial work. The Circle sends at once for the Master's only living relative, who left to become a priest of Fire seven years ago. The priests reply that the new Master will come, but that anyone who has lain in Fire for seven years is no longer quite human.
Mirasol hears the news and fears for the future of Willowlands, but she is preoccupied with her own difficulties: her goats are fountaining milk, and her bees are producing so much honey it is pouring out of their hives. And then the Circle comes to her cottage to tell her that she is to be the new Chalice, and it will be up to her to bind the land and its people with a Master the touch of whose hand can burn human flesh to the bone. . . .
Genre: Young Adult (Vampire)