The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Orbit, Feb 25 2010, $13.99
Barbaric warrior Baroness Yeine Darr lives in the Northern Kingdom of Darr. When her mother dies mysteriously, she has no time to grieve or investigate. Instead she is “invited” to come to the center of the universe by the Emperor of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by her grandfather the Dekarta Arameri ruler of all. In the capital city of Sky, a bewildered Yeine learns her grandfather the ruler names her his third heir along with her cousins once removed twins Lady Scimina and Lord Relad.
Confused and bewildered over her selection to the competition to replace the aging Dekarta, Yeine soon realizes her role at court is to be an expendable pawn used by her cousins as each has ambitions to be the next ruler. However, she also learns more about her family’s history and the gods serving them; losers in the Gods War eons ago who humiliatingly must bow to the mortals as their retribution for the crime of defeat. She proves to have backbone though all at court thought she would and intelligence that none thought she had while trying to save the kingdoms and free the god-slaves.
The first tale of the Inheritance Trilogy is a fascinating adaptation fantasy told through the filter of the heroine who uses her experiences as a chieftain and lessons from her late mother to understand the glamorous cesspool she has been tossed into. Yeine is a terrific lead protagonist who keeps the deep story line focused whether she deals with her grandfather, her amoral rivals, the slave-gods especially Nahadoth. Although the engaging story line is simplified too much between the forces of good and bad, readers will enjoy the opening account of a fully developed convoluted world in which debts of the soul are paid by losing your rights as Nahadoth the Nightlord One of the Three and now Yeine know the difference between the slave and the princess.