|Lenayin is a land divided by two religions. The Goeren-yai
faith is a bit pagan, guided by spirits and focused on strength and honour. Followed by
most of the common people, it is the original Lenayin religion. The Verenthane faith is a
more organized religion that has the majority of Lenayin's nobility amongst its followers.
When the sole remaining Goeren-yai High Lord kills a neighboring province's Verenthane
leader, a complex conflict begins that threatens to tear apart the fragile balance keeping
The heroine, Sasha (short for Sashandra), is a daughter of the Lenay
king. She has abandoned her royal privileges to live among the Goeren-yai and study
fighting techniques. Her tutor (uman) is Kessligh, former commander of Lenayin 's armies
and hero of a past war with neighboring Cherrovan. Kessligh has adopted the Nasi-Keth, a
third belief system that follows the teachings of the non-human serrinim.
Sasha is a supremely talented sword fighter as well as being temperamental and
stubborn. She is torn in different directions, her desire to lead a simple life studying
swordwork battling with the call of history and duty. The Goeren-yai believe she is guided
by the Synnich spirit that will liberate them from Verenthane oppression.
The book starts off slow, with the first half introducing the world of Lenayin. There
is a lot of talking, with characters being introduced and giving a good grasp of
whos who. The political manipulations of the court are introduced and the laying out
of events sets the scene of complex family and clan interaction. The second half has more
action, marching off to war, alliances built, battle scenes. Characters are introduced who
will play a major role in future books.
This is the start of an exciting fantasy quartet. Ive got the next 3 on my desk
and cant wait to start them. They show the heroine as someone tough who turns her
back on privilege and can be the best in a mans world. She doesnt sit around
waiting for rescue. Her sister also appears and shows her strength in a different way. I
look forward to seeing more of Sofy. Sasha is an excellent epic fantasy novel that
promises great things for the rest of the series. I highly recommend this for fantasy