Review No.19 – Besieged

Besieged – Rowena Cory Daniells

Solaris, 2012

The world is poised in a delicate balance, between a disillusioned church and a king whose ambition knows no bounds – between the race of gifted, godless T’En and the common men who fear, loathe and outnumber them – between the T’En brotherhoods, who plot against one another for power and prestige, and the segregated sisterhoods who hold them in such utter distrust. But the pacts that have bound them all for generations are about to be broken. A priest who does not believe in his own gods will forge the king’s discarded son into a weapon against his enemies. A rebellious brotherhood will raise their forbidden daughter in defiance of an ancient covenant. And old hatreds will explode into a war from which there is no returning.

As a passionate supporter of libraries and fantasy everywhere, attending the Logan North Library Science Fiction and Fantasy Month Finale Day has become an annual must for me. Aside from swiping unexpected treasures at the book sale and taking photographs of friendly stormtroopers, there is always a panel of speculative fiction authors discussing their work and their views on the business of publishing. Rowena Cory Daniells is a regular speaker and we had met before, so I knew how generous she is with her time and advice, but to have her just hand me a free copy of her book was a bit astounding. Apparently that’s what happens to reviewers. Why did no one tell me this before?

The book is a beautiful thing, deliciously thick with a wonderfully evocative cover. I rarely read epic fantasy and suspect that worked against me while reading Besieged – it was difficult for me to keep track of the many characters and with such a large cast of protagonists, less detail could be invested in individuals, resulting in some unconvincing romances. What Cory Daniells loses in detail, however, she makes up for in scope. This book spans over twenty tumultuous years, allowing the reader a sweeping view over the rise of an empire, the consequences of the smallest decisions playing out over the decades. It truly is epic. The saga continues in the recently released second book of the series, Exile. For more of Cory Daniells’ work, see her website here.

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