Laurell K. Hamilton
Roc, Feb 3 2009, $14.00
At five years old half-elf Keleios proves to have paranormal skills that with focus and training would make her a powerful enchanter and prophetess. However, not long after displaying her talent, the evil wicth Harque killed Keleios’ mom; the child vowed to avenge her mother’s death one day. Her thirst leads her to hell where she becomes marked by demonic evil. A third power also surfaces; that of a sorcerer, which sends her back to school at Zeln's Keep learning to control her latest skill. Through all this Keleios has not forgotten her cause.
However, while at Zeln's Keep, she envisions an assault that slaughters many of the dwellers and those who survive the butchery will be brutally enslaved; the Keep will be no more betrayed from within by Keleios’ roommate Fidelis whose mentor is Harque. Keleios struggles to put together a counter team, but few are comfortable with the tainted one. She manages to gain a few allies as Lothor the healer (whose price is her), Tobin the royal mage, Master Eroar the shape-shifting dragon, and Poth the feline sorcerer join her. They fail due to betrayal and become prisoners of Harque, who is the mastermind behind the destruction of Zeln’s Keep.
This reprint of Laurell K. Hamilton’s first novel is an exciting sword and sorcery coming of age thriller (though no Blake, stake, or vampires). The story line is action-packed as battle after battle occurs as the beleaguered heroine and her teammates struggle with survival. Although the world is never developed beyond seemingly a war zone that is not explored beyond the battlefield and neither is the key villainess Harque, fans of the author will enjoy Ms. Hamilton’s debut quest fantasy rooting for Keleios to succeed against impossible odds.