"Well written epic fantasy"
The Riversong villagers assign the lowest lowlife eleven-
year old urchin Lale to deliver the golden needles to the
princess because no one else is available. The child loses
her package while crossing the dangerous Hatch Creek ford.
Already considered worthless, the villagers drive the lass
away. After a harrowing trek, Lale finds refuge with
the "Midnight Mother", Makina, the ruler of Tamurin.
Makina sends her latest "daughter" to the School of Serene
Repose. Six years later, Lale attends the School of Three
Rivers for ninja training.
A few years later, Makina believes Lale is ready to begin
her plan of vengeance on the neighboring ruler Terem
Rathai. Lale enters Terem's land Bethiya as an actress.
Terem notices her and Lale is quickly becomes his
mistress. Lale finds Terem is an enlightened kind monarch
and begins to fall in love with him. However, if she
changes loyalty, she dies a nasty death by sorcery while as
a war fought on two fronts (mundane and magic) is imminent.
THE ASSASSINS OF TAMURIN is a taut, exciting, and well
written epic fantasy that works on several levels because
the countries seem so authentic as if magic existed in
Ancient Asia. This occurs because the characters whether
they are peasant villagers or evil or benign monarchs
provide a realistic social environment for the plot,
especially the fantasy elements to perch. The first person
account by Lale that later becomes a dialogue with Terem
enables the audience to understand the key characters.
Though the ending seems to rapidly short, this novel towers
over much of what the genre offers.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted December 9, 2002
The voice of an extraordinary new fantasist sings out
strong and true in this epic and magical tale of intrigue,
forbidden love, and shocking betrayal in a wondrous,
barbaric realm where beauty is a weapon . . . and treachery
The river god had spared the infant girl the villagers
found drifting on a boat with a dead man and dying woman,
so the superstitious townsfolk believed it would be a
sacrilege to let the child die as well. The name Lale,
meaning "lucky," is the last good thing they give her, and
she grows up abused, unloved, and resented -- until, at age
eleven, she comes to the attention of Makina Seval, "Mother
Midnight," the absolute ruler of the Despotate of Tamurin.
Enrolled in Three Springs, the Despotana's special school
for orphaned and unwanted girls, young Lale finally finds
what she has always coveted: respect, affection,
community . . . a home.
But Three Springs is an institution of dark and shadowy
purpose, a place where the wards of Mother Midnight are
trained to become perfect spies and cold-blooded,
ruthlessly efficient killers. And Lale has learned her
lessons well. At age twenty, she stands poised to play her
role in the Despotana's grandest scheme: vengeance.
Years earlier Makina Seval's entire family -- including her
infant son, the rightful heir to the Bethiyan throne -- was
brutally slain through the plots of a devious chancellor,
who then raised up a young usurper to be the Sun Lord. Now
it is Lale's duty to insinuate her way into the court --
and the bed -- of that same usurper, Terem Rathai, no
longer a child but a powerful and dangerous foe. And after
she has earned Terem's trust, Lale is to kill him.Bound by
the blackest sorcery to remain loyal to her beloved Mother,
Lale will suffer nightmarish torment -- even death -- if
she fails. But once enmeshed in the web of deceit and
treachery that has been spun around her, the young assassin
begins to doubt the righteousness of her sworn mission. For
not only will the Despotana's grand design bring doom upon
the world itself, there hangs over Lale yet another
appalling catastrophe -- one that threatens all that she
is, all she has ever believed.
Lale has fallen in love with the man she must
destroy. . . .