|Author||Diana Wynne Jones|
|UK Release Date||1979|
|US Release Date|
|Series||The Dalemark Quartet|
|Preceded by||Drowned Ammet|
|Followed by||The Crown of Dalemark|
An unusual, dreamy book that can be difficult to follow. It is set in the prehistory of Dalemark, in a world where ordinary life, village superstitions, and magical powers and events are intertwined, and people typically lead lives governed by tradition and the skills needed for subsistence. The story is narrated by a weaver, who describes herself as at one time weaving the story afterwards, and living the story as one of the characters. The protagonists carry with them the hearth statues of their gods, and pray to them for help, but from time to time those statues reveal the life within them, and walk and talk like ordinary people.
This book is well worth reading again after the rest of the Quartet, when it becomes clearer.
The Spellcoats, third of The Dalemark Quartet to be published, but first chronologically in the series, tells the story of a family of villagers who lose their mother, then their father, and are evicted from their village due to superstitions of some of their neighbors. The unfolding of their story, and their gradual understanding of their own history, help to bring a resolution to the sufferings of their people, and tie in with the later events chronicled in the other three books of the Quartet.