Mostly sword, with a little sorcery, from the author of Faraday’s Orphans (1997), etc. P’ter Terhune, the usurper Warrior-Priest of Adalon, ordered the slaughter of all young children in a futile attempt to destroy his half-brother R’bert’s heirs. Antonya, however, escaped to be raised by her mother’s distant cousin, the monk Father Andrae, while secretly nursing her ambition to overthrow the despotic P’ter and the equally wicked Priests of the Faith. Ready at last, Antonya maneuvers the huge warrior Kerric Myro into becoming her champion—her aims suit him, since his own wife and son were murdered by the Faith. By manipulation, subterfuge, and flattery, they conquer territories and build a power base. In the Oracular City, meanwhile, another struggle is taking place. Those fed to the Oracle’s magical fire die in agony to produce prophesies, but P’ter’s nephew, the saintly G’walch, believes he’s destined to Walk the Fire and live. The Oracle’s hateful Keeper, K’ferrin, despises P’ter. K’ferrin’s grandson, the gentle scribe B’nach, loathes the old man but assists with his plotting and spying, thankful not to be fed to the Oracle himself. Eventually, Antonya grows powerful enough to pose a threat to P’ter. He captures her and, with defender Kerric seemingly dead, tortures her until she’s grabbed by K’ferrin. Antonya seizes her chance to scheme and beguile, and once more resume her upward march. Deftly rendered but utterly familiar: dÇjÖ vu all over again.