The Hidden Stars
by Madeline Howard
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
0 pages; ISBN: 0060575875
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
The Hidden Stars
Eos, Oct 2004, $14.95, 432 pp.
Long ago two empires arose with one following the light and the other embracing the dark. Eventually they warred with wizards fighting mages. The outcome was civilization was destroyed. Gradually mankind rebuilt much of what was lost, but failed to understand the real lesson of the past.
For almost four decades, the Empress Ouriana has ruled the island kingdom of Phaorax while turning her neighbors into slave states. Her mightiest weapon is the Furiadhim, warrior priests dedicated to the dark powers, but subject to the will of the Empress.
Ouriana’s sister gives birth to a daughter that many believe is the child of prophecy that says someone with the empress’ blood will defeat her. Wizards and men willingly die to insure the princess will survive. Currently she lives in the home of King Ristat of Sturra under a false name. Nineteen years have passed since her birth and war is everywhere. The wizard Sinderian feels the time is near to fullfll the prophecy, but she must find and protect the princess from her aunt’s minion whose mission is to kill her.
Sword and sorcery fans and followers of Tolkien and Brooks are going to love THE HIDDEN STARS. The princess has no idea of her heritage, who she is, and what is expected of her as part of hiding her was to keep even her from knowing until the time was right. Her naive innocence is a perfect counterpoint to battle scarred Sinderian who has seen sacrifice for the cause. Madeline Howard’s debut tale us a terrific high fantasy (what do you expect with that last name – a stooges’ tale?) that readers will enjoy and look forward to the next novel.
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