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4.4 out of 5 stars15
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 11 May 2014
Once again Glenda Larke has created a wondrously unique world that I was only too happy to escape to - I read it while recovering from major surgery! Every time I picked it up the hospital noises around me dimmed into insignificance and I was there in the Va-cherished lands wishing I could travel to the Summer Seas in search of spice.

Glenda's world building is always accomplished with a minimum of description - just enough to make you feel the gravel beneath your feet, smell the aromas of the marketplaces, the cold of the moors in winter and feel the sun on your face.

The pace did seem a little slow but then given that I wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders, that didn't worry me. What does worry me is how long I have to wait for book 2!
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VINE VOICEon 2 January 2015
Enjoyable fantasy. A young priest and spy, drawn into royal intrigue and politics, is granted an unusual gift of magic by the country's god. A young Lascar sailor from the far away spice islands, is sent on a quest to retrieve stolen magic feathers, which are capable of keeping their owner under their thrall. He and the priest have to unite in finding the feathers and returning them to their island. However, that's just part of the story. A very good, interesting adventure fantasy.
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Have to say I enjoyed this, a fun fantasy that doesn’t take itself overly seriously.
Saker is a priest but also a spy for his religious leader. He has the skills but a slightly immature attitude that usually ends up with him getting into a fair bit of trouble. A sneaky look into a warehouse causes him to bump into another interloper, a lascar sailor. And somehow Saker ends up with the sailor’s dagger and that dagger seems to have a mind of its own.
But this is Saker’s story as we follow him on the task set by his boss to be a spiritual advisor to a Prince and Princess but Saker is not aware of the danger he may be in. All the while we readers know that the dagger will eventually come more into play!
It’s fun with some engaging characters and even when you know where the plot is going, you kind of sit back and just enjoy the ride. I liked the balance the author got here, the politics, the religious aspect, the world view and some entertaining characters. A couple of times I had the fear it might veer into areas of romance (“shudder”) but luckily it stopped just short.
I ordered the follow up book straight after finishing this so that is a pretty good sign I liked it.
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on 31 May 2014
This was an enthralling read. While there is plenty of action and drama this is only part of the story. It's also about court intrigue, what happens when people are caught up in events outside their control and how they act and react when difficult choices are forced on them.

The book opens with a young man racing to try to avert a tragedy. He fails and the repercussions spread wide, far beyond his home in the Summer Islands.

With well drawn, believable characters - both good and bad, an easy to read writing style, complex plot and clever world building, Glenda Larke has succeeded in creating a gripping read with the steady, well paced build up of tension adding to the story. She excels at creating rich and realistic worlds and societies and this one is no exception. It is nicely layered with religion, economics, politics and magic all combined to make a cohesive whole.

Highly recommended.
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on 4 September 2015
derivative, plodding, slow, with a really dumb, self-centered hero, towards whom i felt only irritation and annoyance...too much is made of characters' looks, beauty seems to be more important than ethics, morals and/or honour...silly conflicts, staged and stale religious hostilities...maybe good for young teens? but...
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I’ve been a fan of Glenda’s for quite a few years, I love the way she brings amazing fantasy worlds to the fore and adds not only cultures but individual characters that make the world a wonderful place to discover as they go about their quest. Here in her latest book is a story that opens into something that is not only imaginative but will feed the soul of fantasy readers the world over. Its compelling, it has some great concepts within and with a magic system that makes organic sense all round generates something special that you can get behind.

That said however there are problems with this book, first of all it is quite slow with a pace that never really gets going apart from around the principle character and when you add to this supporting cast members feel rather flat left me feeling a little cheated. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy a lot of the elements within however if the second title doesn’t fix these errors I won’t be reading the third.
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on 25 January 2016
Just coming to the end of the book and I think its great. Good characters, interesting situations, just keeps me wanting to turn those pages.
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on 28 March 2014
What would you do to gain freedom? Would you kill? Would your plot to escape an appalling future involve despicably tricking and using people who profess to love you?

These and other profound questions are intrinsically linked in this multi-layered tale woven by Glenda Larke. There is also an interesting world building and magical system – reminiscent of other excellent fantasy women writers such as Margaret Weis and Katherine Kerr.

Regarding the writing, I found it a little difficult to get used to the writing style, mainly the inner monologues in the beginning. At the start I also found the two main female characters grumpy and always suspicious and really not very likable. I then asked myself: what would be my world view if I were facing the same circumstances, be it from a princess’s or handmaiden’s point of view? I certainly would not be saintly and would be irritated and bad-tempered when considering what fate/God/cards had given me. What these women were doing and indeed, what I believe the author is showing is that we do what we can to make the best of our material conditions. Other people may view our actions as being wrong or immoral; they however, are not in our shoes.

I love authors who write thrilling fantasy that allows me to escape from the quotidian grind of the mundane. I also love authors who combine this aspect with questions that make me think.

Highly recommended.
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on 25 July 2015
Intriguing tale well worth reading
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on 24 February 2015
This book did not disappoint!
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