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Out of the Dawn Light (Aelf Fen, #1)
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Out of the Dawn Light (Aelf Fen #1)

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  284 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
A brand new medieval mystery from the author of the Hawkenlye series

England, 1087. On her sister's wedding day, Lassair meets an attractive and enigmatic stranger who brings a breath of the fascinating outside world to her backwater Fenland village. When he asks Lassair to use her unique talents to help locate a mysterious treasure she accepts, despite the dangers. But thi
Hardcover, 213 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Severn House Publishers
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Jul 31, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok
This was in the crime section at my local library, but I think this is firmly a Young Adult book. The main character is thirteen-year-old Lassair who is recruited by handsome stranger, Romain, to help him find a mysterious object along with Lassair's friend, Sibert. The story hops between Lassair's first person narration and a few other characters, whose narration springs up every now and then (often in the middle of Lassair's chapters) in third person.

Young Adult is not a genre that I regularly
Enjoyable mystery set just after William the Conquerer's death in the fens of the British Isles. Or whatever they were called back in the 1080s. An appealing young heroine, 13 year old Lassair, is enjoying her unpleasant older sister's wedding and impending departure from her family's small cottage. When a handsome young stranger visits, it sets in motion a sequence of events involving politics, ancient history, and rather surprisingly, magic that I thought at first was simply a depiction of the ...more
Aug 14, 2011 Lucinda rated it really liked it
Out of the Dawn Light (Severn House 2009) introduces Lassair, a 14-year-old girl in a Fenland village in 1087 England. Lassair has the gift of finding lost objects and dowsing for water, and is in training with her aunt to be a healer. But Lassair has more important things on her mind — will her friend Sibert ask her to dance even though her womanly shape refuses to emerge? William Rufus has just taken the throne after the death of William the Conqueror, and the common people are not happy with ...more
OUT OF THE DAWN OF LIGHT (Hist Mys-Lassair-England-1087) – G
Clare, Alys – Standalone
Severn House, 2009, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 9780727867636

First Sentence: The news of William the Conqueror’s death reached us when we were celebrating my sister’s wedding.

Lassair, at 13 years’ old, is happy to see her very difficult sister, Goda, getting married and leaving the house. At the wedding, Lassair meets a handsome young man, Romain, to whom she is attracted. Some time later, she is approached by her frien
Definitely more of an action & adventure tale set immediately after Norman conquest of England as opposed to a medieval mystery novel. Don't get me wrong, there are a few mysteries in the tale, including a murder, but this is one of those books that unless the cataloger reads it, it could be classified into different genres and depending on what the reader is looking for, he/she could be disappointed that this book is not what he/she wanted.

Okay, so that being said, what I liked about the b
Jan 15, 2010 Suburbangardener rated it liked it
Not as good as the Hawkenlye series; the mystery wasn't that mysterious (I figured it out long before the denouement) and the changing of perspective from 1st person to 3d person made for an uneven tone. The setting and detailing are rich and captivating, making up for the deficiencies.
Alison Dellit
I debated a lot between a two and a three star rating for this one. I went up in part because I think the book has been badly marketed - it's not really a mystery at all, and its more YAF in feel than adult. As a YAF exploration of British religion and mysticism at the time of the Conqueror, it was reasonably successful I suspect. I certainly enjoyed the discussion about the role of healers, the intercultural mixing, and the small glimpses of Fens traditions. But the overtly childlike voice for ...more
I am not sure I agree with filing this only under mystery as there is most definitely a fantasy element. I was expecting a historical fiction mystery ala Gil Cunningham or Cadfael, but, as I do enjoy fantasy, the mix was a pleasant surprise. I was trying to sort out why the story did not strike me as historical fiction--after all, there is a touch of paranormal in the Gil Cunningham stories, but I think the answer lies in the writing style. The language used and the storyline itself just didn't ...more
Apr 13, 2015 Indeneri rated it liked it
The story is engaging from the very first chapter. Although the protagonist is rather young, 13/14, I wouldn't add this to the YA shelf, as she grows up rather fast in the later books.

I read the 4th one before this, The Way Between the Worlds and find this one has the same problem as the first. After the mystery has ended, there is an anticlimactic end to the story that is too long and adds nothing much over all.

However, I like the stories, a mix of fantasy, historical fiction and mystery and
Feb 15, 2016 Ruth rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
c2009: FWFTB: 1087, wedding, dowser, East Anglia, treasure. Nowhere near as good as her 'Hawkenlye' books. The protagonists were much younger and the writing was much more simple than I remember. Possibly aimed at the YA market but there is not much in the book for an adult reader to get their teeth into. So, unable to recommend to the majority of the normal crew. "I felt his thought. It came at me like an arrow and as soon as I understood, it seemed to me that the awareness had been there all a ...more
Susan in NC
Feb 28, 2012 Susan in NC rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this first book in Alys Clare's new medieval series; I hesitate to call it a mystery, it seemed more historical fiction or even young adult/adventure, as the heroine is Lassair, a 14-year-old girl on a treasure quest with two young men. One is her friend Sibert from her village, the other is Romain, a handsome, obviously well-born young Norman who seeks out our heroine and Sibert because he needs their knowledge and gifts to find a mysterious treasure. Lassair is flattered at th ...more
Jan 29, 2010 Shannon rated it liked it
I love a good mystery, and I love a good historical novel. Alys Clare delivers both with Out of the Dawn Light, the first of her "Aelf Fen" series.

It is 1087 and William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror, has just become king of England after his father's death. Lassair is a young teen who lives in the Fens and who has recently discovered that she has special powers: she can locate items that others have lost. When a young man on whom she has a crush approaches her to help him find a lost trea
England is in a state of unrest following the death of William the Conqueror. The people of Aelf Fen aren’t concerned at first—after all, one Norman king is the same as another, right? Meanwhile, there’s a marriage to celebrate—someone is actually willing to marry Goda, the village shrew.

Lassair is Goda’s younger sister. Lassair has special talents, among them an uncanny ability to find lost/hidden things. When a charming man she meets at the wedding asks her to help him find a mysterious object
Apr 07, 2014 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable tale of a girl discovering her talent and developing her magical abilities. Runes, herbs, healing, and the elements are skillfully woven into the plot. Liked the girl's character a lot--a lovely blending of brashness and vulnerability.

I dislike politics. There was too much description of the intrigue for me. Liked the depictions of life in the 1000's. Seemed realistic except for the beer which was more alcoholic than other reports I have read.
Jul 12, 2012 Kathy rated it liked it
I enjoyed this one. The point of view hopped around, but you never got lost or were unable to tell who was speaking. I would not call her the next Ellis Peters, but she's pretty good. I look forward to reading more books in this series.

Our heroine is Lassair, who lives in England about a generation after the Norman conquest, when William has died, and left his holdings divided between his two sons. Lassair is a fourteen year old Anglo-Saxon and doesn't see herself as too deeply interested in Nor
Maria Murray
Mar 07, 2015 Maria Murray rated it really liked it
I read this from a historical perspective. I like to look up the history of a time period in the books I am reading. It was an enjoyable read and the mystery aspect made it intriguing.
Mar 09, 2015 Nadine rated it really liked it
Interesting story, although rather predictable. The insight into the historical period was brilliant and well researched.
Jul 04, 2010 Louise rated it really liked it
Shelves: 0300-1066ce
Thoroughly enjoyed this book - and having seen the Fens in the 20th and 21st centuries it's not that difficult to imagine what they were like in the 11th. The characters are believable, even down to Lassair (the heroine) knowing that she's too young - but who cares, she's going to do it anyway. The idea of just reading to the end of the chapter until putting the book down swiftly disappears - and when you resurface you discover you've read about 3 and it's now 1am! I look forward to reading the ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Lisa rated it it was ok
There was a really promise of good story. But the areas that was good there was little detail and went on in area that was not important. Debating to try book two
Jan 27, 2014 Debra marked it as books-i-didn-t-finish
Despite my love of the period and of mysteries, I just had to quit this poorly written book.
Oct 14, 2009 Patricia rated it liked it
This is a new series by one of my favorite historical mystery authors. It took me awhile to get into this one; the point of view changes between first and third person and was a bit off-putting at first. The main character, a thirteen-year-old girl who is training to be a healer and has dowsing powers, seems to have rather precociously modern thoughts at times but overall I like the premise and will follow the series, although I like the Hawkenlye books better.
Sep 29, 2012 Deanne added it
Set in England in 1027, Lassair is a dowser (locates water) and has been asked by a mysterious, and handsome Romain, to help him located a powerful treasure. As Lassair and her friend Sibert, with secrets of his own, travel with Romain across East Anglia, dangers mount and the mystery of what they are seeking deepens.

The historical detail and setting are interesting. I am irritated that Lassair is so smitten with Romain.
Apr 19, 2013 Evie rated it liked it
I chose this book because some reviewer somewhere said something to the effect that this author is the next Ellis Peters. Trust me, she's not. The story was good, but the characters seem like modern people living in Medieval times. I think this is the first book of a series, I may read the next one.....but if you like a feel for medieval times, stick with Ellis Peters or Margret Frazer
Aug 17, 2012 Shari added it
I have read most of the books in this series and have become very fond of Lassair. Wish there were more. Not only is this a good mystery read but also a historical world when William the Conqueror invades England and how his rule and that of Christianity affect the commoners, throw in a bit of Celtic magic and you have a recipe for a "good read".
May 11, 2013 Judy rated it it was amazing
Excellent story of England just after William the Conqueror died and the peasants and displaced Saxons of East Anglia in the Fens. Murder, mysterious pagan magic and the beginning of a forced Christian lifestyle by the conquerors. Fast-paced, well written.
Jan 16, 2010 Tracy rated it did not like it
This should have been published as YA or even Juv Fic. The protagonist is a 13-year-old girl with all the idiocy that goes with that age. Weak story line and written on a lower reading level than adult. I read about 40 pages then scanned through the rest.
Feb 15, 2010 Shelley rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
Mystery set in 1087, in an England somewhat real and somewhat magical. I liked the characters more than I liked the plot and didn't really see much mystery involved. I thought it was obvious, and if I thought that, that's a problem! This could go YA or adult.
May 07, 2011 Jacky rated it really liked it
Lovely to read about East Anglia after the Norman Conquest, to "hear" the voices of those who remembered Hereward.
Love the descriptions, the character of Lassair.
Sometimes the "voice" sounded a bit modern.
Feb 03, 2010 Jill rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
This started out well and I really wanted to like this medieval mystery, but it just sort of fizzled out in the end. It got really good reviews--may have to give her Hawkenlye series a try.
Mary Baker
Dec 15, 2013 Mary Baker rated it liked it
This book is an easy but entertaining read about a mysterious quest and the solving of a murder. The setting is Medieval England during the reign of William the Conqueror's son.
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Alys Clare is the pen name used by Elizabeth Harris for the Hawkenlye series of historical mysteries.

Alys Clare is the pseudonym of a novelist with some 20 published works to her name. Brought up in the countryside close to where the Hawkenlye Novels are set, she went to school in Tonbridge and later studied archaeology at the University of Kent. She lives for part of the year in Brittany, in a re
More about Alys Clare...

Other Books in the Series

Aelf Fen (7 books)
  • Mist Over the Water (Aelf Fen, #2)
  • Music of the Distant Stars (Aelf Fen, #3)
  • The Way Between the Worlds (Aelf Fen  #4)
  • Land of The Silver Dragon (Aelf Fen  #5)
  • Blood of the South (Aelf Fen #6)
  • The Night Wanderer (Aelf Fen #7)

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