The Lord-Protector's Daughter (Corean Chronicles)
by L. E. Modesitt
Edited by David G. Hartwell
Review by Tom Easton
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765321633
Date: 11 November 2008 List Price $22.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Tired of sequels? Even good ones? L. E. Modesitt, Jr., offers a one-volume story in The Lord Protector's Daughter. It's set in the same universe as the other six books of his Corean Chronicles, and if you have read them, you have a useful sense of context and background. But the tale works fine if you haven't.
The setting is the city of Tempre in the realm of Lanachrona. The Lord Protector, Feranyt, has three daughters, Mykella, Rachylana, and Salyna, and a son and heir, Jeraxylt. Salyna is a rather physical gal who likes to practice sword-play with the soldiers; she's good. Rachylana is much more concerned with looking good for her boyfriend, son of the Finance Minister, Joramyl, Jeraxylt's brother. Mykella, central figure of the story, has a head for figures and has been going over the books. All three are in line to be married off to suitable candidates in neighboring lands. None are terribly happy about it.
Things are about to get less happy. Mykella has discovered that the tariffs collected from merchants are not all reaching the treasury. And very few people are in a position to be responsible for the losses. There are also suspicious expenditures for the Southern Guard.
What should she do about it? One of the legendary soarers (think fairies) appears to her to say she should visit the ancient table in the basement if she wishes to find her Talent and save both the realm and her world. When she does so, she finds a stimulus for some remarkable abilities, known to her world mostly as legends of the ancient past, as well as a mysterious other-worldly threat. But nothing really helps her decide what to do about the missing money.
Still, she knows her father will insist on solid evidence of any misdeeds. Once she has that, she goes to him. He of course discusses the matter with his brother, and soon the finance ministry is missing a chief clerk who was supposedly to blame, while a rather nasty specimen steps in to replace him. Suddenly the books look much better, though her new talents help her overhear some alarming conversations.
It's not really much of a mystery to the reader. Palace coups are as standard fare in fantasy as in the real world. The only remaining questions are who will die next, and what Mykella might be able to do about it.
As it happens, she can do quite a lot. But if I get too specific, I run the risk of spoiling a very readable novel for you. If you want to know more, you know what to do.