The Forest of Moon and Sword is a fascinating historical adventure set during the English Civil War which centres on the persecution of women who practised herblore, and one courageous girl’s determination to fight back in order to save someone she loves.
It is June 1647 and twelve-year-old Art Flynt is hiding alongside her mother and a small group of other women who have been accused of witchcraft when they are discovered by the Witchfinder General’s soldiers. Art escapes and witnesses the cruelty of the soldiers towards the accused women. She discovers that her mother will be taken far from her Scottish home to Essex where she will be executed with many others at the summer solstice. She has promised her mother that she will stay with her Aunt in Scotland, but this is a promise that Art is unable to keep …
Feeling the strength of hatred and prejudice against the accused women in her community, Art makes a determined and courageous decision to travel to Essex, disguised as a boy, and rescue her mother, but she only has eight days before the summer solstice: will she be able to make the perilous journey, avoid discovery and save her mother before it is too late?
Stories about witchcraft in its historical context both fascinate and horrify me. I thought that the blend of historical fact, air of mystery and building of tension worked really well. The sense of injustice, hatred and prejudice against these women who helped in their community as herbalists and healers permeates the story.
It is into this world that Art undertakes her rescue mission, showing great inner strength, courage and determination. I really liked that there is a thread of other-worldly mystery woven into the story as well as the historical background of Matthew Hopkins relentless hunt for witches during the English Civil War.
On her journey, Art rescues a young girl accused of witchcraft and they soon become firm friends. Mercy proves herself to be a loyal and true friend who is willing to take great risks to help Art in her daring and dangerous rescue mission. The friends also meet a boy called Elijah, but will he prove to be friend or foe?
This is a powerful, exciting and immersive historical adventure where fierce, daring girls fight against the prejudice and hatred being shown towards those they love.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an e-ARC in return for my honest opinion.