"Fine speculative fiction"
Invaders from the realm of Alizon made war on the Dales,
using siege machines and weapons of mass destruction that
made the land lifeless. Those who didn't die in battle
were left to fend for themselves and many became outlaws
and bandits, taking what they wanted and killing without
compunction. Some lords had to help their people by their
finding a new place to call home.
Lorcan, heir to the dead land of Erendale, is saved from
bandits by Maive, the lady of the bees, who lives in a
land never touched by battle. Lorcan is grateful to Maive
of Honeycoombe and pledges to be her liege man although in
time he wants much more from the beautiful woman who holds
power over the bees. Bandits killed everyone in her Dale
so they seek decent people to inhabit the isolated yet
rich land. Even after they accomplish this, another battle
looms for an old enemy is coming to kill him and settle
Set in the world of the Witch World series, readers get to
see the effects of war on civilians and how they cope with
their losses. The two paths they travel banditry and
relocation is realistically portrayed and the protagonists
are people whose deeds the jongleurs sing about. Readers
can see the steps to reconstruction begin as soon as the
war ends and the bandits are dealt with in a harsh manner
by good people who don't want the hatreds that festered
through the war to destroy what they are trying to rebuild.
Reviewed by Harriet Klausner
Posted November 10, 2005
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted January 25, 2007
The Dales of Andre Norton's Witch World have endured wars, natural disasters, the predations of strange creatures, and treachery. None loves the land as well as Lorcan, orphaned at birth, who has sought his birthright for as long as he can remember. Exiled from his native land when it was invaded by Alizon, he spent his youth in Paltendale where he was treated as an outsider, especially by Hogeth, an heir of that dale, who resented Lorcan's presence when both were still young men.
When he came of age, Lorcan left to seek his own destiny. Since then, he has fought valiantly to rid the Dales of the Alizon invaders, but not even his efforts can prevent the deaths of many people, and the destruction of many keeps and garths. The war now over, he has survived, but so have those who would plunder the lands of the survivors. And among the plundering bandits is his nemesis from Paltendale, now more bitter and determined to vanquish Lorcan.
During his travels Lorcan has joined with five blank shields, who, fighting together for common cause, become his boon companions. Then he meets a young noble lass, from a dale known as Honeycoombe for its beekeeping. Her dale has been decimated by the war, but with Lorcan and his band, she will try to rebuild a home where they all can live in peace. Lorcan feels that he might at last find happiness with the valiant fair maiden. But Hogeth now leads marauders across the dales, destroying what they cannot rightfully have, and there will be no peace in the dales until Lorcan and Hogeth settle their old, bitter score.