Glacially paced first volume in a character-driven fantasy series about a young girl raised by wolves whose unexpected return to the castle of her youth complicates an old king's choice for an heir. Lindskold, who completed two unfinished Roger Zelazny fantasies (Lord Demon, 1999, etc.), should have learned from the genre's master of myth-mulching epics to keep a plot going at high speed. Instead, it takes about a hundred pages of scene-shifting before the first meeting between Firekeeper, as the 15-year-old raised by wolves is known, and a band of explorers from Hawk Haven searching for the rebellious Prince Barden. The pacing remains torpid throughout, as Lindskold avoids the genre's penchant for flashing swordplay and magical hokum to make telling, if sometimes tedious, contrasts between the girl who would rather be a wolf and the human characters. Firekeeper is actually Barden's daughter Lady Blysse, only survivor of a fire that apparently killed him and everyone in his entourage ten years back, but she has only rudimentary memories of her childhood. Blysse discovers she is also the grandchild of 75-year-old King Tedric, who has yet to name a successor. The tale closes with Hawk Haven surviving what might be the first of several wars with neighboring kingdom, and King Tedric making perhaps not the best choice to rule in his stead.
Slow but sweet medieval high fantasy that, so far, finds the affairs of humans much less civilized than the frolics of forest creatures.