I’m normally not a fan of ‘epic’ fantasy (as evidenced by the fact that I could not stomach the works of the late Robert Jordan, page although many of my friends quite enjoyed them). Generally an author who makes a globe of her world out of a beach ball and has been building and writing in the same world since the mid-60s would be considered an epic fantasy author. Quite often a
trilogy quartet set in a time of global war and chronicling the life of the greatest king of the world would register as an epic fantasy. Somehow Sherwood Smith avoids a lot of that, and I mean it as a compliment. Epic fantasy can also often mean characters that are gods or in many ways godlike and just not terribly accessible. I don’t know how she does it, but she writes very human fantasy on an epic scale. Or perhaps epic fantasy on a human scale. In either case, one might have guessed by now that I enjoy Sherwood Smith’s works quite a bit.
Indevan-Dal Algara-Vayir of Choraed Alger, in Iasca Leror (later called Marloven Hesea, and then Marloven Hess) is the son of a prince, but not a royal prince. He’s a second son, which means that he is expected to conduct the home defense of the lands for his older brother, once that brother becomes the Adaluin (territorial prince). When he is ten, the rules somehow change and all the second sons are called into the capital to undergo the same strict military education as their older brothers. Inda (as he is called) goes gleefully.
Unfortunately, politics are afoot. Iasca Leror is expecting at least three kinds of attacks – the Venn, mighty sea warriors; those from Norsunder, evil magicians; or pirates. The king’s younger brother is hoping for one of these, since it’s what he’s trained his whole life for. Said younger brother, the Shield Arm, also hates the Algara-Vayirs with his entire soul. This is a bit problematic, as Inda’s older sister Hadand is engaged to the royal heir, the king’s older son. The royal heir (Sierlaef) is the Shield Arm’s favorite person in the world, since he feels he can control him and thereby retain power for a longer period of time. Inda and his older brother Tanrid both have difficult times at the military academy. Tanrid is never quite close to the Sierlaef, but Inda becomes good friends with the younger and less-favored royal son, the Varlaef (called Sponge, for his reddish hair). An incident, engineered by the Shield Arm and abetted by the Sierlaef, happens in Inda’s second year at the academy, and Inda’s entire life changes.
The Fox starts immediately after the end of Inda; it contains a similar format to the last half of the first volume. Continue reading Inda (book 1 of Inda) and The Fox (book 2 of Inda), by Sherwood Smith