Rawn, author of the "Dragon Star" and "Dragon Prince"
trilogies, has begun a new series, "Exiles." With the first book
of the sequence, The Ruins of Ambrai, she has started off
with quite a bang.
A milennium ago, people born with magic fled to Lenfell to escape
persecution. In this beautiful refuge they hoped to build their own
society. But lust for power and differing philosophies soon divided
these Mageborns into two factions -- Mage Guardians and Malerrisi.
The struggle between the two exploded into all-out war, and Lenfell
was devastated. Wild Magic polluted everything and created a new
species of horror, the Wraithenbeasts. In an effort to weed out the
genetic damage caused by the Wild Magic, the people of Lenfell imposed
upon themselves a rigid breeding caste system, and a society of
privileged Bloods and progressively disenfranchised Tiers was born.
Almost a thousand years later, Lenfell and its population have nearly
recovered from the wounds of the war, though scars remain. The need
for the Tiered society of Names is gone, but the system is entrenched.
Those who reap the greatest benefits from the system are loathe to give
up their power and privilege. More insidious is the age-old rivalry
between the Malerrisi and the Mage Guardians. Generations of plotting
and planning for a final bid at total power have brought the two
Mageborn factions once again to the brink of war. At the same time,
a rebellion against the government is brewing. Into this Lenfell,
three sisters are born with Magic. Fate and conspiracy will pull each
onto the path of her own separate destiny, but these paths will
converge to remake the destiny of a world.
The Ruins of Ambrai might boast enough pages to make an effective
doorstop, but its pace and precision make for a good compelling read.
Elements of sword, sorcery, layers of intrigue in court and out: The
Ruins of Ambrai has got it all, cunningly interwoven. And to a
genre of series installments that often leave the hapless reader
hanging for two years until the next book comes out, The Ruins of
Ambrai brings a beautiful thing: a series opener that truly gives
you a sense of closure, of a good fight well-fought. Don't worry; the
denouement promises this won't be the last battle in the war.
Rawn has achieved another remarkable surprise in The Ruins of Ambrai:
villains who are more than caricatured Evil. Motives, personal history,
the reasons behind the choices; all reveal human beings with human
weaknesses and strengths. The Ruins of Ambrai is an auspicious
beginning to what might end up being one of the best fantasy series in