by Elizabeth Vaughan
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
314 pages; ISBN: 0765352648
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Tor Books, Jun 2005, 314 pp.
The King of Xy’s daughter Xylara chooses to become a healer rather than a royal pawn, and her sire allows her to train under the tutelage of Eln and to use her skills especially when they are at war. When her father dies, her half brother Xymund becomes the monarch. He sees healers as traitors because they comfort the enemy too and has other plans for his sister insisting the Daughter of the Blood can be used as a bargaining chip in their war with the Firelanders.
Xymund may be Zy’s son, but he is not his equal as a warrior so their country loses to the Firelanders. Negotiating a peace, Xymund cleverly includes his half-sister as a WARPRIZE. Reluctantly Xylara accepts her fate to keep her people safe. To her shock, Xylara finds her hosts are not barbarians but have many of the same concerns the people of Zy have. When she heals and nurtures the ill, Keir the Warlord realizes what a WARPRIZE he really gained. As they fall in love and peace settles on the two lands, Xymund tries a sneak attack as he covets his neighbor’s kingdom.
The key to this strong otherworld romantic thriller is that readers will believe that the world of Zy and Firelander exists as Evelyn Vaughn cleverly throughout her fine tale provides cultural tidbits into this realm. The story line reads like a medieval tale with bartering of royals as commodities and betrayals a way of life. Interestingly though Keir and Lara go from disdain to admiration to love as both struggles with trust issues because duplicity is the norm in their respective circles. Fans of medieval like romances on other worlds will take immense delight in this terrific tale.
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