Sent forth from the mountain of Protestantia evangelica, I have checked the other mountains of Ecclesia. Time to report back.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Caprice Hokstad is the follow-up to The Duke's Handmaid. Both are essentially historical romance with fantasy elements, and they're set on another planet (Byntar). (Pay attention: there's a test later.)
But Wait! There's More! The official synopsis for the book follows (or you can read the first chapter instead): Two baby boys are lost in the hostile country of Ganluc--one the firstborn son of a prince and princess (third in line for the Royal Throne of Latoph) and the other an illegitimate half-breed born to an Itzi slavegirl and fathered by a licentious owner who was executed for treason. Yet Duke Vahn is determined to rescue both of these boys. Scores of knights and bounty hunters have risked their lives trying to retrieve them, yet none can even find a clue to their whereabouts. When all else fails, a bold plan is proposed to send Vahn's most trusted servant posing as a runaway slave in order to gather information. Reluctantly, Vahn sends a strange trio off to Ganluc--his brave captain, a middle-aged healer, and an Itzi slave. Little does he know what challenges await both the trio and his own house, now forced to survive without its key leaders.
So what's an Itzi? Get the background here. For more about the Duke (Is he a flat, unspiring character, or is he a moving Vahn?) and his many co-stars, check here.
My Own Opinions, for what they're worth (Note: I haven't read the current entry, so I'm going by The Duke's Handmaid for all this.)
On the plus side, Hokstad has an unusual ability for world-building. (I would rate her ahead of Overstreet in Auralia's Colors, in fact.) She's also a good storyteller. The two strengths combine for an immersive tale.
The points that will bother some people (including me at times):
*This isn't Christian in any discernible fashion, though the good guys are moral and ethical and occasionally torture the bad guys to advance the plot.
*Speaking of torture, there's some stuff here that makes waterboarding look like a theme park attraction. A little over the line for me, but your mileage may vary. (See what happens when you try to turn back your odometer?)
*Duke Vahn's so tall, you get a stiff neck just reading about him.
For more reviews, some by people who've actually read the book, check the CFRB site.
Test (See, what did I tell you?) 1. Do you secretly hope that the first syllable of "Byntar" is pronounced like English "been," so you can say, "Byntar, done that?"
2. "Reluctantly, Vahn sends a strange trio off to Ganluc--his brave captain, a middle-aged healer, and an Itzi slave. Little does he know what challenges await both the trio and his own house, now forced to survive without its key leaders."
Which of the trio are the "key leaders"? Or is it the two missing kids? Who does mind the store whenever Vahn has to visit the little Duke's room?
3. Is it just a coincidence that "Ganluc" is "culnag" spelled backwards--and neither word means anything?
4. Say "Itzi-Itzi-Itzi" without cracking up or getting stuck in a rubber room.
5. What season is it, really--Duke season or wabbit season?
Submit your responses here, preferably in the form of a question. (Yeah, just like Jeopardy, for reasons that will become clear if you try it.)