The Icarus Child
~ The Icarus Child #3 ~
Once there was an island, and on that island there lived a boy…
Britain 135 BC
Orphaned at birth and raised by his aunt on an isolated island, Icastar has led a far from normal life. His body is misshapen, his days are tormented by whispering winds and demanding ghosts, and he only has seals for friends.
But there is more to this boy than his physical hardships and lonely location. The island and his own body might try to hold him down, caging him inside a world of pain, but he is the Icarus Child.
One day he will fly – or die trying.
Freedom is at stake, and failure is no longer an option.
The Icarus Child in Brief
What’s in it?: A 90,000 word novel and a bonus short story (Star and Shadowborn)
When is it set?: 135-126 BC
Where is it set?: Iron Age Britain, pre-Roman.
What kind of story is it?: A family drama about a young boy, the aunt who raises him, his extended family and the island they live on. Involves love, friendship, selkies, chores, goats, a magpie, some nightmares and some really unfriendly ghosts.
What’s the genre?: Historical Fantasy.
Any age restrictions?: None. Although the story does involve a bit of violence.
Behind the Story
If you’ve read any of the Aekhartain stories before and have been wondering how that series connects with this one, wonder no more! This is Shaiel’s book – and if you liked Demairo/Demero’s story in Unbound and Free there are a fair few similarities here, especially in the first section.
When it comes to comparing it to the original, then there have been a lot of changes. Icastar is pretty much as he ever was, but all the other characters are different (and Fox and Cana are his grandparents and still alive, so they make brief appearances) and for the most part the plot takes a wholly new route to the end. The outcome there is the same as it ever was, although the method has differed. In other words, if you read and remembered the original, you might get a few surprises here.
You also get a bit of a bonus story in Star and Shadowborn, because as always Maskai likes to make things difficult for me, and squeezing in an explanation of who and what she is always seems impossible. Hopefully this little tale will clear up any questions the rest of the book raises. If not, tell me and I’ll see what else I can do.
ONCE THERE WAS an island, and on that island there lived a boy. Lonely and strange, marked out as different from the day he was born. Some might even say that he was cursed. His father fell from the stars and died in the boy’s creation; his mother belonged to the island and died at his birth. From his very first breath, the boy was alone.
Except for his aunt, a cousin of sorts, half-selkie and all strange, she loved and protected and raised the boy as her own. But they never left the island. Lonely as it was, cursed as it could be, the island was their home, isolated and safe from prying eyes.
Because the boy was strange – in more ways than his orphan state. For his first year of life he was almost silent, except when taken away from his safe shores. The moment he left the sands of the island he would cry, but the rest of the time he was peaceful, almost content.
Until he grew old enough to speak, then all he could do was sob.
And when he tried to walk, he whimpered.
In time he overcame both troubles to talk and walk as well as he was able, but deep in the night, lost in his dreams, the boy cried.
The winds and voices of the island, who had waited so long for their new Icarus, gave the boy their own name.
Crying Child, Crying Child, they sneered and whispered and mocked.
But this boy, this strange and lonely little boy, was different from the day he was born, and if the island had been paying attention, it might not have mocked so hard.
For this boy was the new Icarus, even if neither he nor the island understood yet what that meant. And in a time of trouble and change, only the strong would weather the oncoming storm.
If they lived long enough to see it.
For there was another child of the island at loose in the world. Forgotten and rejected, perhaps, but not quite beaten yet. Because one thought and goal drove her onwards – to return home to the island and kill the monster that resided there.
And all the storms in all the world would not be enough to defeat her, until the Crying Child had cried his last.