This novel from beloved writer Norton and coauthor Miller begins a new fantasy series: The Cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan. Fans of Norton's classic Witch World stories will find familiar terrain in this tale of a crumbling kingdom besieged by dark forces. Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan are the four legendary powers of the world, now fallen on hard times after years of warfare and mutual betrayal. Weak-willed Boroth, King of Oak, and his scheming wife, Ysa, sorcerous Queen of Yew, hold the monarchy for now. Desperate to escape the ancient prophesy that a Daughter of Ash will claim the throne, Ysa orders the death of Boroth's runaway lover, Lady Alditha of Ashe--without knowing Alditha has already given birth to Boroth's bastard daughter, Ashen. Years pass. Boroth's health fails. As Ysa grooms her unworthy son, Florian, to inherit the throne, Ashen is raised by Zazar, a wise woman living with the Bog Folk. When Zazar dies before she can warn the girl of her true heritage, Ashen must trust her instincts and the little magic she knows for protection. After she saves Obern, the dashing son of Snolli, High Chief of the Sea Rovers, who seek alliance against enemies from the north, Ashen and Obern travel to court with Lord Harous, who distrusts Ysa's intentions. Here book 1 concludes, almost as soon as the story really begins. While Norton fans will be eager to read her newest book, they're likely to be disappointed by its slow pace and minimal storyline.|
Source: Charlene Brusso, Amazon.com.