Daughter of Lir
Forge, 2003 (2003)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
Daughter of Lir
, Judith Tarr continues a series that began with
White Mare's Daughter
. It deals with the clash between early patriarchal and matriarchal cultures, in a period of history in which (at least in the belief systems of the time) the gods were close and influenced events.
he tale opens as the young Mother of the city of Lir rejoices in the birth of a daughter. But her priestesses have foreseen that this child, '
' will bring their destruction. The baby is sent away with a priestess who just lost her own child, fated to live and die in obscurity. Of course, that couldn't happen or there wouldn't be a story. Rhian grows up a potter's child in Long Ford and the wind whispers secrets in her ear. The Mother of Lir is dying and Rhian dreams of cages. Then Prince Emry visits her village, and Rhian follows him (and her dreams) riding the living goddess, the White Mare. They seek the Warriors of the Wind, whose invasion of Lir has been predicted, Emry hoping to steal one of their new war chariots.
n the steppes, the King of the People of the Wind is bespelled, under the dark influence of one of his wives. Etena is the daughter of a witch and a shaman, and she drives him on to continual war and conquest, '
fire and famine
'. Minas is the heir, close to his brother Dias, who is Etena's son fostered by Minas' mother Aera. Minas dislikes the darkness that has taken his father and seeks help from the shamans, who predict a hard road for him. Of course, Rhian and Emry, pretending to be traders, meet with the tribes, who covet their knowledge of bronze just as the people of Lir are after the secrets of the chariots. Romance develops, predictably between Dias and Rhian and, surprisingly, between Emry and the older Aera. Princes both of the People and of Lir end up as captives in the other's lands.
vents unfold in the author's usual brilliant tapestry of treachery, war, sacrifice, and
Romeo and Juliet
romances between honorable individuals from very different cultures, at odds with each other. As Rhian says, '
Conquerors have come before ... and become kin.
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