A Sorcerer?s Treason (Isavalta Trilogy)

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9780007114009: A Sorcerer?s Treason (Isavalta Trilogy)

Volume one of the stunning fantasy trilogy set partly on the shores of Lake Superior in the 19th century.

Bridget Lederle is the lighthouse keeper of Sand Island Lighthouse, a woman ostracised by the locals because of the bastard child she bore to a visiting Finnish fisherman, and because of her own mysterious antecedents. It is rumoured she’s a witch; certainly, she has strange and uncontrollable visions and premonitions. One day, she has a premonition of disaster and ‘sees’ a small boat being dashed to pieces on the rocks off the island in a storm; the next day the storm kicks up – and she goes out to find a man thrown up on the shore, almost dead. When he speaks, it is in an unknown language; he has bizarre tattoos, and when he wraps a piece of braided cloth about her arm, she is suddenly able to understand him.

He tells her he is from another world, a world in which she is a great magical force, and that her presence is required to save the Dowager Empress, currently under threat from her poisonous daughter-in-law. It is an attractive offer for a woman with nothing to lose (her baby died, she has no prospects in our world); she goes with the wizard to Isavalta. But there she will find nothing is quite as he promised her...

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A Sorcerer's Treason (Isavalta Trilogy)

Review:

Already an accomplished SF novelist, Sarah Zettell's debut fantasy, Sorcerer's Treason, shows her to be equally adept in lands of myth and magic.

Bridget Lederele is Keeper of the Light on Sand Island, shunned by the mainland following the birth and death of her bastard child and rumours of her psychic visions. Now she keeps the lighthouse blazing, warning sailors away from the rocky dangers of the lake. Her life is thrown into turmoil when she rescues the tattooed stranger Kalami from the wreckage of his boat and tells her she is needed in another world to defeat the sorceress step-daughter of the Empress Dowager Medeoan. Seeing the chance for a new start, Bridget accepts Kalami's offer but the world she finds waiting for her is unlike anything she has been promised.

Zettell's first fantasy novel is a triumph of story-telling, taking fairytale and folklore and dressing it in lies, half-truths and dark magic. All the characters are powerfully drawn, especially Bridget, a strong and attractive heroine, willing to face her responsibilities as much as the aged Dowager is willing to run from hers, if only because she thinks it the right thing to do. This is a world populated by characters who are flawed to the extreme, not totally evil, but driven by motivations they know to be wrong. It's a world of grey areas and twisted truths that thanks to Zettell's superb plotting only gradually revels themselves. The magic system is rich and detailed with truth spells woven into warm herb bread and transportation spells cast out nothing but air itself. Sorcerer's Treason is a magnificent fantasy novel, showcasing just how good this genre can be. Rich, compelling and exciting, this could be the best fantasy debut in years and is certainly as good as fantasy gets. --Jonathan Weir

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