Monday, March 26, 2012

Banner of the Damned-Sherwood Smith

Banner of the Damned

Sherwood Smith

Daw, Apr 3 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780756406776

Emras the Scribe always adhered to the three rules of her profession: do not interfere; keep the peace; and tell the truth. Now she writes her defense as she stands before the judges who determine whether she lives or dies. She scribes that she tried not to interfere; meant to keep the peace; and tells the absolute truth. She begins her story when she was fourteen working as a kitchen servant when a scribe teacher invited her to test for the Fundamentals.

Childless Queen Alian the Second of Colend names her sister Princess Lasthavais as heir to the throne. However, Princess Lasva’s euphoria ends with the announcement that her sibling is carrying the heir. Despondent over her loss and with no future at home, Princess Lasva leaves the kingdom. She meets Prince Ivandred of Marloven Hesea whose kingdom’s royal mage has dealings with Colendi’s enemy, magical Norsunder. Attracted to Marloven, Lasva also is in awe of what he and his subjects can do especially with magic. They marry. Queen Alian, worried about her sister, sends well-regarded Emras to protect Lasva, but the scribe arrives too late.

Four centuries after the fantastic Inda fantasy (see INDA, THE FOX, KING'S SHIELD and TREASON'S SHORE), Sherwood Smith returns with another superb complex thriller. Filled with action, the story line is told from the point of view of the scribe who strictly makes a case that she tells the truth with this document though she may have crossed the line re rules one and two. Readers learn of Sherwood Smith’s theory of relativity as new perspectives on previous key events (scribed in the Inda fantasy) surface. Fast-paced yet profound, Banner of the Damned is a terrific tale.

Harriet Klausner

No comments: