Miryem was brought up in a snowbound village, on the edge of a charmed forest. She comes from a family of moneylenders, but her kind father shirks his work. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, his family faces poverty – until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what's owed, and her neighbours soon whisper that she can turn silver into gold. Then an ill-advised boast attracts the cold creatures that haunt the wood. Nothing will be the same again, for words have power. And the challenge she's issued will change the fate of a kingdom.
Channelling the spirit of the original Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, Naomi Novik has written a rich, multi-layered fantasy about sacrifice, power and love that is a joy to read.