Synopses & Reviews
Extraordinary new talent Madeline Howard begins an epic trilogy of magic and power, hidden birthrights and prophecies, with The Hidden Stars
, the first book of The Rune of Unmaking.
In a world devastated by a cataclysmic war between the wizards and mages, the Empress Ouriána has seized the throne, proclaiming herself the Divine Incarnation of the Devouring Moon. Appointing twelve priests to perform her rites, she rules with a tight rein of evil sorcery. The priests, once men, have become twisted with magic, making them monstrous -- mutated. They bring destruction wherever they ride, and one kingdom after another falls, enslaved into darkness.
Yet signs and portents appear, puzzling the seers, and a tale begins to grow. A rumor of a young girl, talented and hidden, who is destined to end Ouriána's tyrannous reign ... if she can survive long enough to do so. And so a brave band of wizards and heroes ride out in search of the hidden princess, pursued by the fury of the dark goddess herself.
"Anyone willing to endure names like ireamhine and Baillbachlein will find that a pronunciation guide and a map are about all that's missing from Howard's solid first novel. Classical fantasy elements, such as the eternal war between Light and Dark and the royal-born savior adopted by ignorant strangers, share space with a surprisingly original setting and story. Nineteen years earlier, Master Wizard ireamhine spirited a baby princess away at the cost of his life. Now the harsh Empress Ourina, a self-proclaimed dark goddess, thinks she has found the girl and sends her monstrous priests to destroy her. The healer Sindrian, the wizard Faolein and the half-fey Prince Ruan travel north, where the young woman's family is battling Ourina's malevolent forces for control of the land, to learn whether she is indeed the long-lost princess, the only one who can destroy the empress. Some readers may be put off by the simplicity the kings are always wise, the wizards are always clever and the protagonists always survive but bloody warfare, intricate magic and deft portraits of characters and culture provide some sparkle and keep things moving. With its strong (and not overly sexualized) female characters, the series should particularly appeal to anyone wanting a feminist alternative to the current crop of genre sagas. Agent, Elizabeth Pomada. (Oct. 12)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Debut author Madeline Howard enjoys gardening, Celtic myths, and working on the next Rune of Unmaking book. She lives in Northern California with her family.