The Blurb (from Goodreads):
A young woman is both a bard--and a warrior--in this thrilling historical fantasy from the author of the Sevenwaters novels.
Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan's burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. She and her brother train there to compete for places, and find themselves joining a mission while still candidates. Their unusual blend of skills makes them ideal for this particular job, which requires going undercover as traveling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.
Their mission: to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship, which has gone mysteriously missing. If the instrument is not played at the upcoming coronation, the candidate will not be accepted and the people could revolt. Faced with plotting courtiers and tight-lipped druids, an insightful storyteller, and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realizes an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the kingdom. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision and is faced with a heartbreaking choice. . .
One of my all-time favourite writers, Juliet never disappoints. I love her signature mix of history, folklore and romance, all written in beautiful lyrical language and with a powerful and wise message of the importance of caring for this beautiful world of ours at its heart.
The heroine of the tale is a young woman named Liobhan who desperately wants to be chosen to join a band of elite warriors. She and her brother Broc are training hard, though they still have time to sing and create music.
Their musical talent finds them chosen for a dangerous mission, in which they must disguise themselves as travelling minstrels. The harp of kings has been stolen, and they must try and get it back in time for the coronation of the new ruler.
All sorts of danger awaits them and their companions, including a journey into the magical world of the faerie. They had made the harp and given it to humans as a symbol of a peaceful accord between the two races. Liobhan must find out if they were the cause of the harp’s disappearance, and what that means to the fragile accord. A beautiful way to while away a few hours.
You might also like to read my review of The Girl in the Tower by katherine Arden: