This book is Volume I of "The Atlan Saga," a science fiction/fantasy series. The Atlan Series (The Serpent, The Dragon, The City, Atlan, and Some Summer Lands) are a wonderful introduction to fantasy literature. Jane Gaskell's heroine, Cija, is both vulnerable and capable. The characters are clearly drawn, the locales are exotic (but still believable), and the action continual. Destined for one disaster after another, Cija is a memorable and ultimately likeable protagonist. So interested reader, get thee to a library or second-hand bookstore and buy the whole series!