- Hardcover: 382 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books (Mar. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765304228
- ISBN-13: 978-0765304223
- Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.3 x 24.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,471,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Sword of the Deceiver (Isavalta) Hardcover – Mar 2007
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More About the Author
Praise for the Isavalta Novels of Sarah Zettel "Characters leap off the page with heart-wrenching emotion and daring choices. Zettel's world-building continues to be faultless, blending, Chinese, Indian, and Russian folklore and magic into a cohesive and compelling whole. This is the touching tale of a mother's love, a journey of self-discovery and an enthralling adventure rolled into one". Romantic Times BookReviews on "The Firebird's Vengance".
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Top Customer Reviews
It runs for 434 pages and twenty six chapters, and it's the story of Natharie. Princess of the country of Sindhu. No longer a teenager and just having finished a ceremony which celebrates that fact, her peace is shattered when a neighbouring country demands rewards promised from an old treaty. Which require one of the Sinhdu royals to go and live when them. To prevent it being her younger sister, Natharie volunteers.
She has to come to grips with the new country in which she finds herself. And a burgeoning attraction between herself and native prince Samudra.
But with intrigue and plotting in both countries that threaten war, can the two of them get together and survive? Or is their relationship as doomed as their countries might be?
There's nothing wrong with a predictable romance so long as the characters are compelling enough to make you like them. And these two certainly are. And there's a rich feel to the countries seen here that comes over an interesting mixture of places from the middle east to asia. But this does falter a little after a promising opening sixty pages because the focus shifts away from Natharie to other characters. As a whole it's just not quite as compelling when she's not on screen.
So not a bad bit of writing all in all, but ultimately not the most memorable.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The story follows two main characters: Natharie, Princess of Sindhu, and Samudra, Prince of Hastinapura. Samudra, brother to the Emperor, is sent on a year-long mission to receive oaths of alleigance and tributes from Hastinapura's subject kingdoms. It is on this mission that he comes to Sindhu, where, having demanded a hostage from the royal family, he meets Natharie, who is the eldest daughter of the king and who has offered herself to save the younger members of her family. During her forced stay at Hastinapura, Natharie quickly learns that there is much more to Samudra than meets the eye, and the two develop a tenuous bond. But Natharie is also the target of Hastinapura's High Priest, whose religious fervor has caused him to single her out, as the people of Sindhu worship the Awakened One, and the people of Hastinapura worship the Mothers. And amidst all of this are the political power plays present in any court, and into which Natharie finds herself inextricably drawn.
There are also several other side characters whose actions and decisions help shape the outcome of the plot, and this was one of the things that I liked about the development of the story in "Sword". Events did not seem contrived, but rather were the natural outcomes of perfectly reasonable decisions made by half-a-dozen different characters, all of which converged into an explosive ending. All characters were fleshed out well, and even the "villains" had their points that the reader had to respect. The plot unfolded at a good pace, and it was easy to sympathize with Natharie and Samudra as they worked through their respective struggles.
The writing was very fluid, descriptive, and often beautiful to read. There were a few references to Indian myth in this novel, which I thought were aptly applied; some of the philosophical discourses were interesting to read as well.
The only complaint I really had about this novel was the way the ending played out; I didn't feel like the central characters had much part it in, and considering that most of what happened was in direct response to them, it made it seem a bit disjointed. Also, some of the actions the characters take at the end didn't seem very believable, which was a departure from the way they were written earlier in the novel. But despite this, it was still a satisfying ending, and a read I would highly recommend.
Set as a prequel to Zettel's other Isavalta novels, "Sword of the Deceiver" tells the story of Natharie, a "willing" tribute from her people to their rulers in Isavalta. Once in the Palace of the Pearl Throne, Natharie finds herself in the middle of court intrigues and deceptions where she's never sure who to trust or what their underlying motives might be -- except that she herself is beginning to have feelings for Prince Samudra who, depending which rumors one believes, may be plotting to take over the throne.
This is an incredible novel full of intrigue, adventure, romance, and magic. While the first 100 pages are a little slow setting up all the different plot lines (and there are MANY plot lines through every deception), once all the players are in place, the novel takes off. By halfway through, I stayed up all night to finish it.
The book leaves open every possibility for a direct sequel, and I hope Zettel writes one instead of hopping around in time as she's done through the rest of the Isavalta novels. (I had hoped the same thing of the first Isavalta novel, "A Sorcerer's Treason," but alas, no sequel yet.) Natharie is a wonderfully complex and determined character, and Prince Samudra is truly heroic. These characters deserve many more tales.
At the Hastinapura court, everyone ignores the teenage barbarian from the south as being beneath them, This enables Natharie to learn that her host and his followers worship the Mothers, whose gory abusive High Priest, Divakesh has begun a campaign to bring his religion to the outer nations including Sindhu. Her only hope to save her family and her people from a massacre resides with Chandra's brother Prince Samudra, but he just returned home after a one year diplomatic mission and his influence has been superseded exponentially by Divakesh.
Fans of romance and epic political fantasies will cherish this terrific Isavalta saga that can stand alone yet also adds to the lore of the previous tales (see THE FIREBIRD'S VENGEANCE). The action is fast and furious as the countdown for a blitzkrieg backed by religious fervor is nearing the doomsday second with only two people trying to prevent a bloody ethnic cleansing even as their love for one another blossoms but takes a back seat to saving the lives of innocent people. Sarah Zettel shows she is a superior fantasist.