Looking for a change from your typical European Medieval setting? How about a new world with a strong eastern style culture. A world where honor is everything and disgrace means falling on your sword. A world where the game of politics determines which Great Houses survive and which are destroyed forever.
Magic and murder engulf the realm of Kelewan. Fierce warlords ignite a bitter blood feud to enslave the empire of Tsuranuanni. While in the opulent Imperial courts, assassins and spy-master plot cunning and devious intrigues against the rightful heir. Now Mara, a young, untested Ruling lady, is called upon to lead her people in a heroic struggle for survival. But first she must rally an army of rebel warriors, form a pact with the alien cho-ja, and marry the son of a hated enemy. Only then can Mara face her most dangerous foe of all--in his own impregnable stronghold. An epic tale of adventure and intrigue. Daughter of the Empire is fantasy of the highest order by two of the most talented writers in the field today.
*Blurb source *RandomHouse
*Blurb source *RandomHouse
Book Source: Personal Copy
Epic Fantasy Book Review by Mulluane
This story has always been one of my all time favorites; worthy of the occasional reread. When I saw it mentioned on a blog recently, I knew instantly it was time to visit with Mara again...
♦ My Thoughts. One important thing to note. There are some who say you really should read the Riftwar Saga first. I have but it was eons ago and I remember very little. I also can't find the books in my book pile. Likely I loaned them out or I would have reviewed those first, but...
I don't really believe reading those first is vital. Helpful, yes, vital? No. This is a totally different story in a completely new viewpoint. The main thing you need to know is that there are magical rifts between two worlds. On one side is the Empire of Kelewan, where this story takes place. On the other is side is Midkemia which the Empire is trying, without much success, to subjugate.
But the war itself plays but a bit part in this drama. The main story here is about a young 17 year old girl, only seconds from dedicating her life to a temple, who suddenly finds herself a Ruling Lady. On her tiny shoulders rests the responsibility of both her family name and its very survival.
♦ What I Liked. This book is a prime example of backstabbing politics. Fortunes rise and houses fall, all depending on a House's ability to play the Great Game. There are allies and enemies, blood feuds and annihilation. There are black magicians who are a law unto themselves. At the top of the food chain sits a merciless Warlord. And from behind the scenes the god-chosen Emperor rules them all.
RT: The Empire Trilogy is a priceless mix of deadly politics, paid assassins, and talented spy masters. via @mulluane
But not our Mara! This poor girl, because of the strict traditions defining honor, is not even allowed to weep over the loss of her beloved father and brother. To do so would be to show weakness. So for a solid week she must show no emotion, no pain, no fear. Only once she arrives home and performs the funeral rites can she give into her grief. Talk about hooking the reader!
Unfortunately, her one show of emotion is cut short and the untried young girl must immediately dive head first into the churning waters of murky politics and an uncertain future. And she does just that. I read on in awe as she makes mistakes, recovers and finds ways to turn her misfortunes into triumphs.
It was a joy to watch.
I could continue babbling about flawless pacing, rich worldbuilding, thorough character development, incredible detail and deep immersion. But, I'll spare you. Suffice it to say there are reasons why I have read this series over and over again.
♦ What I didn't like. Normally I would use this space to discuss what I disliked about the book. However, this time I have nothing to say. The book is as close to flawless as anything I have ever read.
So, I'll discuss what I didn't like about this world and its inhabitants!
I hated Mara's future husband. As was intended.
I was fascinated and yet repelled by the system of honor. To die with honor was always preferred over living in shame. I abhorred the practices of servitude and slavery. Especially slavery. In this world slaves have NO options.
This is a society that believes in reincarnation. If you are a slave, you earned it by living a shameful previous life. Once a slave, always a slave. To rise above that station would offend the gods.
Same with servants, though they can rise to positions of responsibility. However, they can never rise above their station.
And yet, regardless of their stations, any member of a House, from the lowest to the highest, will willingly give up their lives --without hesitation-- for their Master/Mistress. Believing that to do so insures they are reborn in a higher position on the wheel of life.
Told you the culture was rich and full of detail!
Now if you'll forgive me; it is time for me to go spend some more quality time with Mara!
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Author: Raymond E. Feist
Author: Janny Wurts
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Content: Magic, Politics, War
Publisher: Bantam (May 1, 1988)
Mass Market Paperback: 421 pages
Cover Design: Don Maitz
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Amazon Affiliate Links: US ~ Canada ~ UK
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Epic Fantasy Review of Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist, Janny Wurts - Reviewed by Mulluane on February 03 2015 - Rating: of 5