by Doranna Durgin
This book is a prequel to Dun Lady\’s Jess– I think by a hundred years but no idea where I got that from so could be wrong. It\’s set in the same magical world, and explains a little bit how some of the magic used later on in the Changespell books came about, but really most of the magic stuff is rather confusing and unexplained. The basic setup is this: Ehren was the closest man to the king, and in the prestigious King\’s Guard. He was sent away on an errand when the king and the rest of the Guard were set upon and killed. Ehren suspects of course, that he\’d been sent away on purpose. Returning, he finds the new young king under the thumb of a devious wizard, and the new Guard doesn\’t welcome him much either. He\’s sent off again, to find some living relatives of the old king who might be a threat to the new, but really all he wants to do is find the assassin. Meanwhile, there\’s this guy named Laine travelling with his teenage sister in a trader\’s caravan. Laine has the ability to see magic, so he protects the travellers from magic traps set along the roadway, remnants of a past war. When their paths intersect, things get interesting. Ehren realizes that Laine might lead him to one of his goals- but the connection is much more intertwined than anyone suspects at first. The younger sister almost immediately develops a crush on Ehren (nothing goes beyond flirting, but there\’s definitely romantic tension throughout the whole story). The Guard tries to teach Laine some skills so he can actually use his sword effectively. There\’s a magic ring, bandits, conspiracies against the throne, plenty of adventure, swordplay and just plain old rough travel.