by Jacqueline Carey
Once there were great magicians born to the Maghuin Dhonn; the folk of the Brown Bear, the oldest tribe in Alba. But generations ago, the greatest of them all broke a sacred oath sworn in the name of all his people. Now, only small gifts remain to them. Through her lineage, Moirin possesses such gifts – the ability to summon the twilight and conceal herself, and the skill to coax plants to grow.
Moirin has a secret, too. From childhood onward, she senses the presence of unfamiliar gods in her life; the bright lady, and the man with a seedling cupped in his palm. Raised in the wilderness by her reclusive mother, it isn’t until she comes of age that Moirin learns how illustrious, if mixed, her heritage is. The great granddaughter of Alais the Wise, child of the Maghuin Donn, and a cousin of the Cruarch of Alba, Moirin learns her father was a D’Angeline priest dedicated to serving Naamah, goddess of desire.
After Moirin undergoes the rites of adulthood, she finds divine acceptance…on the condition that she fulfill an unknown destiny that lies somewhere beyond the ocean. Or perhaps oceans. Beyond Terre d’Ange where she finds her father, in the far reaches of distant Ch’in, Moirin’s skills are a true gift when facing the vengeful plans of an ambitious mage, a noble warrior princess desperate to save her father’s throne, and the spirit of a celestial dragon.
If intrigue lies at the heart of the first and second trilogies, adventure lies at the heart of Moirin’s tale. And love, of course; and a lengthy and far-flung destiny.Author’s Description
Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the Kushiel’s Legacy series, delivers book two in her new lushly imagined trilogy featuring daughter of Alba, Moirin.
Far from the land of her birth, Moirin sets out across Tatar territory to find Bao, the proud and virile Ch’in fighter who holds the missing half of her diadh-anam, the divine soul-spark of her mother’s people. After a long ordeal, she not only succeeds, but surrenders to a passion the likes of which she’s never known. But the lovers’ happiness is short lived, for Bao is entangled in a complication that soon leads to their betrayal.
I’d love to say I rode horses across the Mongolian steppe, drank yak butter tea and scaled Tibetan mountains to write this installment of Moirin’s journey, but alas, it was mostly book research this time. I did practice the Rani’s mudras, though.Author’s Description
Returning to Terre d’Ange, Moirin finds the royal family broken. Wracked by unrelenting grief at the loss of his wife, Queen Jehanne, King Daniel is unable to rule. Prince Thierry, leading an expedition to explore the deadly jungles of Terra Nova, is halfway across the world. And three year old Desirée is a vision of her mother: tempestuous, intelligent, and fiery, but desperately lonely, and a vulnerable pawn in a game of shifting political allegiances.
As tensions mount, King Daniel asks that Moirin become Desirée’s oath-sworn protector. Navigating the intricate political landscape of the Court proves a difficult challenge, and when dire news arrives from overseas, the spirit of Queen Jehanne visits Moirin in a dream and bids her undertake an impossible quest.
Another specter from the past also haunts Moirin. Travelling with Thierry in the New World is Raphael de Mereliot, her manipulative former lover. Years ago, Raphael forced her to help him summon fallen angels in the hopes of acquiring mystical gifts and knowledge. It was a disastrous effort that nearly killed them, and Moirin must finally bear the costs of those bitter mistakes.
This is an over-the-top adventure story. A missing heir, a mad warlord, jungles, rivers, snakes, flesh-devouring army ants, human sacrifice. Buckle your seat belt and strap in for the ride.Author’s Description
I recall being disappointed with this series the first time I read it, but I can’t recall why. Maybe because the storyline is a more common one, just a straight up adventure/journey? It’s certainly on a grand, sweeping scale, and there’s more magic and less political intrigue here than in Imriel’s or Phedré’s. Moirin is a breath of fresh air after self-confessed brooding Imriel. I was not disappointed this time around.
As with the previous trilogies, it’s been so long I couldn’t recall the plots or even many of the characters. In some ways Moirin’s torture is even more horrendous than Phedre’s. There’s a thread running through these books of choosing kindness and trust over suspicion. Of openness and honesty. Of a beyond beyond the beyond. (If you read the books that last sentence may make sense.) It’s ultimately a hopeful tale.