Masson’s inspiration for In Hollow Lands is firmly rooted in Breton folklore and history mixed with Arthurian legend. Set in Brittany at a time when the land was strife ridden, it contains a lot of background information about the place and time. Tiphaine and Gromer, the daughter and son of a noble family, are abducted respectively by Rouanez, the queen of the fairy folk or korrigans, and her arch-rival Duke Bubo. The 12-year-olds are held for some years by their captors and are pawns as each attempts to seize power from the other. Most of the narrative focuses on Tiphaine and on Bertrand, a young mercenary soldier who eventually, through a complicated string of circumstances, effects the escape of Tiphaine and Gromer.
Fans of high fantasy may well enjoy this rather derivative tale but Masson’s somewhat strained faux-archaic style makes the novel more difficult to read than it should be at times: ‘Lenaik left first. Her companions farewelled her with little cries and taps of the beak, the solemn leavetaking of little birds who do not know if they will be alive at the end of the day.’