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Other titles in the Elemental Masters series:
Elemental Masters #07: Home from the Seaby Mercedes Lackey
Synopses & Reviews
Maya Witherspoon had lived most of the first twenty-five years of her life in her native India. As the daughter of a prominent British physician and a Brahmin woman of the highest caste, she had known only luxury. Trained by her father in the medical arts since she was old enough to read, she graduated from the University of Delhi as a Doctor of Medicine by the age of twenty-two. Welcomed into her father’s lucrative practice, she treated many of the wives and daughters of the British military personnel who made up a large percentage of their patients in the colonial India of 1909.
But the science of medicine was not Maya’s only heritage. For Maya’s aristocratic mother Surya, had not just defied her family, friends and religion to marry Maya’s father, she had turned her back on her family’s powerful magical traditions as well. For her mother was a sorceress—a former priestess of the mystical magics fueled by the powerful and fearsome pantheon of Indian gods.
Though Maya felt the stirring of magic in her blood, her mother had repeatedly refused to train her. “I cannot,” she had said, her eyes dark with distress, whenever Maya asked. “Yours is the magic of your father’s blood, not mine….” Surya had never had the chance to explain this enigmatic statement to her daughter, before cholera claimed her life. Yet Maya suspected that something far more sinister than the virulent disease had overcome her powerful mother.
But it was Maya’s father’s death shortly thereafter which confirmed her darkest suspicions. For her father was killed by the bite of a krait, a tiny venomous snake, and in the last hours of her mother’s life, in the seeming delirium of her fever, Surya had repeatedly warned Maya to beware “the serpent’s shadow.” With the sudden loss of her father, Maya knew she must flee the land of her birth or face the same fate as her parents.
In self-imposed exile in London, Maya surrounded herself with every protection possible. All the magic Maya knew had been learned by covertly observing her mother, and by cobbling this knowledge together with the street-magic gleaned from a few genuine fakirs. Her workings were a mixture of instinct, extrapolation, and trial-and-error. Crude, but somewhat effective, her spells let Maya hide her household behind a wall of secrecy in a poorer section of the city. Here, in a small but adequate house she lived with only the most loyal of her mother’s servants, and her mother’s seven unusual “pets”—if you could use such a word for creatures who seemed far more like friends. For Charan, the little monkey, Rajah, the peacock, Mala, the falcon, Sia and Singhe, the mongooses, Rhadi, the parrot, and Nisha, the owl seemed far too sentient to be ordinary animals. Maya knew that these seven unusual and loving companions had been in some way special to her mother, but their secrets were hidden to her, perhaps forever.
In her new home she fought the dual prejudices against her sex and her race to continue in her medical profession. Only her high scholastic abilities and her extreme determination enabled her to meet with any success. She managed to place herself in a minor position at a prestigious hospital while she pursued her own medical passions: helping the poor at a tiny clinic where they welcomed any doctor, and setting up a small, controversial practice which specialized in “female complaints” and offered “absolute discretion.”
But Maya knew that she could not hide forever from the vindictive power which had murdered her parents. She knew in her heart that even a vast ocean couldn’t protect her from “the serpent’s shadow” which had so terrified her mother. Her only hope was to find a way to master her own magic: the magic of her father’s blood. But who...
Mari Prothero grew up in a tiny fishing village on the west coast of Wales where she lived alone with her father, Daffyd, a master fisherman. Although the sea had never harmed her father, Mari still worried, for her mother and older brother had been drowned by a rogue wave when she was just an infant. Her father was all she had left, and Mari was not blind to the possibility of losing him.
Mari and her father kept to themselves in their village. It would not be wise to call attention to how much more prosperous the Protheros were than any other fishermans family; Daffyd was out in every storm, pulling in fish where no other man could, and his fish were always the fattest, the tastiest. But their unusual good fortune was not the only reason for their reclusive behavior.
For as long as she could remember, Mari had seen things—things that shouldnt, that couldnt be real: tiny manlike creatures that were mischievous and wore only seaweed, and tiny beings that spoke to her kindly but seemed to be made of water. When she was a child, she had asked her father about these creatures, but Daffyd was so upset by these conversations that Mari had given up trying to talk to him.
But on the morning of her eighteenth birthday, her father finally told her the great secret of the Prothero Luck — and what they must do to keep it. Her mother and brother were not truly dead, but neither were they human. They were shape-shifters of the sea, the half-human, half-seal people known as the Selch, and they had returned to their watery domain. Since ancient times, the Prothero family had kept a covenant with these magical creatures. In exchange for protection on the water, a member of the Prothero family would take a Selch to marry, only to relinquish their spouse and one of their children to the sea after a brief number of years.
Now Maris time had come, and her father told her that she must abide by her familys ancient magical compact, or face dire consequences. But Mari was not without protectors: for the tiny creatures she had seen her whole life, which she now knew were real, counseled her to bargain” with her mothers people. While in faraway London, Lord Alderscroft, the head of the Elemental Masters, was aware that a powerful but untrained Water Master on the far coast of Wales was being threatened by some of the Elemental Elder Spirits, and he had dispatched some very unique champions to come to Maris aid .
More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA.
About the Author
Mercedes Lackey is a full-time writer and has published numerous novels and works of short fiction, including the best-selling Heralds Of Valdemar series. She is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots.
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