The award-winning author of the LonTobyn Chronicles (Eagle-Sage
, 2000, etc.) kicks off a fresh four-part fantasy series.
Unlike many sword-and-sorcery authors, Coe wields a good clear style devoid of clichés, although his lively plot centered on enspelled feudal societies, is at heart familiar stuff. The Forelands is divided up into seven countries, each with its own formidable castle, duke, and sorcerers of varying powers. The story opens with the return of a pestilence carried by fleas on mice. Pytor, a farmer who has lost his wife and two children as well as livestock, rebels at his Duke's proclamation of a Feast at which farmers are invited into the fortress and wined and dined while the Duke's sorcerers raze the land, houses, and beasts, to kill the fleas. Pytor deliberately gets bitten and goes to the Feast with the pestilence raging in him. Main characters working out their intertwined Fatings include the two assassins hired by Chancellor Cresenne of Aneira to kill the gleaner Grinsa. The assassins fail, but not before Cresenne falls for Grinsa and becomes pregnant with a child certain to take over the series.
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