After a disaster which kills the master and chalice of the Willowlands, beekeeper Mirasol is appointed new chalice and the master’s brother is recalled from the priests of fire and asked to assume master duties in a world he has mostly forgotten. With no training, Mirasol struggles to find her way as chalice and to bind the land and people to a strange new master, one whose very touch can burn human flesh to the bone.
Although Chalice takes place in a fantasy world, the political maneuverings of those in power are very much reminiscent of our own world. Every action, or inaction, on Mirasol and the new master’s part is scrutinized and judged by the ruling circle and the common people alike. And Mirasol’s own inexperience in her role leads to a showdown which could tear the Willowlands apart. It’s a quiet and contemplative sort of novel (in addition to all the politics there is a lot of talk about honey), but the patient reader will be charmed by this story of the power of love to heal.