Isabel Glass,
Daughter of Exile
(Tor, 2006)

Angarred Hashan has lived most of her life on her father's estate far from the court city of Pergodi. Her father, branded a traitor when Angarred was only 4 years old, was exiled from court. Her mother, she has been told, died of a fever. Raised by her bitter father, she knows nothing of court airs and graces.

Despite his disgrace and exile, her father still receives constant visitors who closet themselves with him for hours. When Lord Challo is assassinated by a bowman while taking his visitors hunting, Angarred decides to travel to Pergodi to ask for the king's justice. But she finds the court a stew of intrigues, both petty and not so petty. The nobles sneer at her provincialism and snub her when she appears in the castle, and she is unable to speak to the king. Only the queen is kind to her. And when war comes to Pergodi, Angarred finds herself on a journey she could never have dreamed or expected.

Angarred is a difficult character to like. If that was the author's goal, then she certainly succeeded. Angarred is naive, petty and whiny, though she can also be brave and generous -- basically, she's what any person might be who has gone from the safety of their home to a place beyond their depth. This is rare in fantasy. There are certainly many heroes and heroines who start out as naive as Angarred, but most aren't quite as flawed as she is, making it easier to root for them. Yet her flaws make her journey all the more believable, as she grows and learns and changes.

That complaint aside, Daughter of Exile is densely plotted with numerous storylines, none of which is left hanging. While the story is not precisely fast-paced because of that denseness, it never drags.

Daughter of Exile is a first novel for Isabel Glass, but Isabel Glass is actually Lisa Goldstein conducting her first foray into high fantasy under a pseudonym.

by Laurie Thayer
30 September 2006

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