• Nina Clare

Swift by R. J. Anderson (2012)



I live in Cornwall, where folkore and myth are rich: Tristram and Iseult, King Arthur and his knights, Jack the Giantkiller; mermaids, giants and piskies abound in local legends, so a fantasy novel with piskies set in modern Cornwall?—yes please!


Ivy is a piskey, living underground in an abandoned wheal mine with her community. While the male piskeys mine and hunt, life is one of confinement for the females; it’s not safe to go aboveground for fear of wicked spriggans and treacherous faeries. Memories of battles between piskies and faeries in times past have left fear and bitterness in the community, the history being passed down the generations by the droll-teller and his tales.


When Ivy’s mother is stolen by a spriggan, and other members of the clan begin disappearing, Ivy finds herself caught up in a dangerous venture. Mysteries unravel, startling revelations are made, Ivy’s whole identity is not what she thought, and neither is the history she has been brought up with.


This was an exciting tale of betrayal and family loyalty, vengeance and forgiveness, identity and transformation. Ivy must discern who her friends and enemies really are, and who she can trust. The story twists and turns, building to a dramatic climax and a surprising ending, with a sequel book to follow. A fast-paced read suitable for middle grade+.


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