The first in book in Lynn Kurland's Nine Kingdoms series casts a delightful spell upon the reader. Kurland weaves a sensual spell as she slowly crafts her story. Introducing characters in full detail that leaves one feeling like she is standing right there with them. Her landscaping reminded me of fields and streams set to canvas with the paint of her words. In general a rich fulfillment of promise.
Morgan, the shield maiden was as unassuming as a girl could be, trained first by mercenaries, then educated in secret amongst orphaned young men and finally trained by the master of assassins. The one thing she was sure of was that magic was bad. At best the user depended too much upon it and not practicing more mundane things, like skill... At worst, it was corrupt and evil used by those who chose to destroy the kingdoms. So what's a girl to do when her mentor, her father figure asks her to deliver this one little dagger to the King of a different land? This one little dagger that glows and sings to her. That constantly pulls at her sense? This little dagger that is causing her to dream, dark dangerous dreams..
Miach, the Archmage, brother to the king, loyal to the kingdom. Miach upon realizing that the king's magic has failed him sends the king off to find the one person who can wield the Sword of Angesand. Long hanging in the king's hall. Bespelled years before by a powerful queen. Sending his pompous brother and king off to do his duty and find the person who can wield the sword is his only hope but as time passes and he has not heard from the king he sees no recourse but to follow him.
Upon meeting the brothers she things King Adhemar at best a pompous twit of a landowner full of himself and Miach, his sweet but rather hapless farmer of a brother. While finding both men attractive, well Adhemar until he awoke and opened his mouth (made me giggle) she was drawn to Miach. A man she could trust, turn to and rely on. Together along with her traveling companions, fellow mercenaries and friends, they set off to Neroche to deliver the dagger to the king.
Along the way Morgan, the girl who hates magic finds that she can remember the odd spell, that she indeed has magic within her. Which terrifies her, she wants nothing more than to be the shield maiden that she thinks she is. As they travel towards the kingdom of Neroche, darkness follows and evil stalks them. Each step closer to Neroche more dangerous than the last. And yet each step they take into darkness draws Miach and Morgan ever closer together..
A wonderful beginning to this trilogy, I am completely looking forward to reading The Mage's Daughter and Princess of the Sword the next two books in this trilogy. From what I understand Ms Kurland is going to write three complete trilogies about the Nine Kingdoms. Which given my pension for things to match makes me very happy. There are Nine Kingdoms so there should be Nine books. I know I am looking forward to reading each and every one of them.