Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts
As I have mentioned in earlier reviews, I have read many of Feist’s books, so when I saw this one although it was collaboration between Feist and an author that I did not know, I did not hesitate.
This is the description:
Enter the mysterious world of Kelewan, where Mara of the Acoma must protect her honour and her people in the ruthless Game of the Council. From the imagination of two of fantasy’s greatest names comes a magnificent epic of heroic adventure and dynastic struggle.
Yes I know the description does not sound much, but let me expand on it a little. The story starts with Mara who is about to take religious orders. Her family is old and respected which on Kelewan is very important for status, but as she is not the heir to the family name, she has decided to reject worldly matters. However before she takes her vows, her family’s warriors arrive to tell her that her father and brother have been killed and that she is now the head of the Acoma. Mara realises that she must play the Game of Council, which is a deadly form of political intrigue and win, otherwise the Acoma will be destroyed and the family name will be lost forever.
For anyone who has enjoyed the Riftwar books this is an intriguing look at the people on the other side of the rift, you see the war through their eyes and get a different point of view. The description of Kelewan and its Empire is excellent and has a real oriental feel to it, with the descriptions of the way the peoples live and their beliefs and customs. There is also some magic in the tale, but it is only mentioned briefly and used very subtlety, although at one time it does save Maras life.
This is a story of friendships, family and honour; there is brutality but also humour in the writing along with sadness. Mara is excellent, do not be put off by the fact that the main character is a female as I have read in some reviews; she is as strong a character as any that I have read and her struggle in being forced into an unfamiliar role is very believable. All the other characters are well developed and not just there for background decoration. To name a few you have Keyoke the head of the Acoma warriors and Arakasi, who Mara saves breaking Kelewan tradition, who becomes the head of her spy network. Then you also have Nacoya, who was Maras nurse when she was a child who is then promoted to first advisor and Lujan who started as a ‘grey warrior’ which is a soldier linked to a family who have been obliterated and ends up one of Maras most trusted men.
I found the story grips you, thanks to the writing skills of the authors and is one of those books that you do not want to end. It is the first book of a trilogy but stands well by itself with a very good conclusion to the story, which the reader will enjoy.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to any one who has read the Riftwar books or even if this is their first venture into such a story, anyone will find something to enjoy in this book.
10 out of 10