Bone Island is remote, hosting a small community who have their ways, and their traditions. There’s a quiet sort of magic supporting them, that goes back generation upon generation. But there is a threat from the outside world when an old woman, the Bone Island Witch, dies, and her cottage is claimed by an incomer. Or rather, by someone returning to the island. We follow the story, and get the backstory, through a young man, who himself is part of a long lineage, and who is enamoured/entrapped by a fellow islander. The story quietly builds up to a climax in the old witch’s house, as the young man has to fulfil his role to separate the incomer and his lover, who themselves share a close bond. The quality of writing is high, and subtly poetic, creating a believable community and a believable setting, both of who are solidy set against a long, substantial history, that gives the impression that you’re watching one part of a long, long story – rather than reading about a few characters thrown together to create a story.
- Naomi Novik. Araminta, or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake. (The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2009).
- Interzone #225, November/December 2009.