A Spell in the Country
Morgan Smith, author
What if you weren’t what heroes are made of? What if your life was an open book? What if you were just an ordinary soldier, with ordinary skills and ordinary goals? What if you weren’t “The Chosen One” but still had to try to save the world? Lured into treason and only narrowly escaping the gallows, Keridwen was desperate to build some kind of life for herself. But between demons bent on death and mayhem, treachery at the very heart of the kingdom, and a prince who had every right to nurse a grudge against her, what were the odds that she could stay out of trouble for long? “A Spell in the Country” is the story of that soldier – a young woman driven not by prophesy, but by circumstances and coincidence, and by the strengths and weaknesses that anyone might possess.
This digital reissue of an excellent 1999 fantasy in Smith’s Averraine Cycle stars Keridwen of Orliegh, youngest child of a minor house in the kingdom of Keraine. While seeking her fortune, Keri enters into military service with Lord Uln, who then turns traitor to his prince, Tirais. After the rebellion’s defeat and Uln’s flight, Keri is spared and sent to Penvarron, a posting for the kingdom’s misfit soldiers, where she earns the respect of her comrades. Together with the rest of the garrison, she interrupts a ritual by evil Camrhyssi priests who have infiltrated Penvarron’s ancient tower, where mystical forces still linger. Keridwen then finds herself in the company of powerful figures, including the very prince who pardoned her, trying to discover where foul magic may strike next. Though the mythologies differ, this feels much like Lois Bujold’s novels set in the World of the Five Gods. Keridwen is a wonderful protagonist to follow: a skilled soldier with something of a stubborn streak and a keen eye but no great powers. Smith’s terrific storytelling and worldbuilding will thrill fantasy fans. (BookLife)