by Joel Shepherd
his is a fantasy book about a young woman warrior, set in the medieval times. It is written with young adults in mind, though adults would like it too. Joel Shepherd is an Austalian author, and has written another book series called the Crossover series.
The land of Lanayin is slowy being taken over by a European influence known as the Verenthane. The Goeren-yai, the people of the land's traditional religion, are either fighting the takeover, or slowly accepting it.
Sasha, the young woman warrior heroine of the book, is in the middle of this, being born to the royal family, but being trained in the sword art of Svaalverd, and giving up her right to the throne.
She orginally took up sword fighting because her favorite brother was being trained, and she used to sneak in and watch, even practice some of the moves, until the teacher, Kessligh, noticed her. She was soon allowed train with her brother and his mentor.
When her brother dies, Sasha and Kessligh move from the palace to a home that Kessligh has outside of it. There she trains, day and night. Working her body into the perfect vessel of swordsmanship.
The main story takes place about 12 years after the death of Sasha's brother. War is starting to break out. Sasha, Kessligh and the Goeren-yai warriors are forced to march north to keep it under control.
With her swordmanship, Sasha wins her place with the men, and earns honor and repect from those who before looked down on a woman warrior. She learns to use her sword from Kessligh, who has trained the art from mid-teens and she uses it more as a deflecting than attacking weapon. Brushing off the power of their blows, she uses the momentum to either propel her own strike, or make them over-balance and overshoot themselves.
Review by Ellen Mumford, Australia