Atrix Wolfe is the foremost mage of Chamenuard, and finds himself on battleground in neighboring Pelucir. The prince of Kardeth is laying seige to the King of Pelucir, and if Pelucir falls, Chamenuard will be next. Mages are not meant to meddle in worldly affairs, but Atrix Wolfe makes a fateful decision that night, and summons a power to stop the Prince of Kardeth. But on that same night, the Queen of the Woods watches the battle with her daughter, and Saro is ripped from the Queen by Atrix’s summoning.
Twenty years later, Prince Talis of Pelucir, born on that fateful night, is summoned back to Pelucir. He’s been in Chamenaurd, learning sorcery, because his parents both died that night, and his older brother, now King, will take any advantage he can get against sorcery. At the same time, a girl name Saro labors in the kitchens of the Pelucir Castle. She was found, mute and naked on that fateful night, twenty years before.
What I liked about this story is that it should have take a certain path, based on the set up , and it didn’t. There’s a lot going on here – about the nature of family, about Atrix Wolfe’s atonement, and about the meaning of words. And since it’s a McKillip book, the language is absolutely lovely. Another wonderful story from this author.