Grade : B

I have the first book in this series, Warprize in my TBR pile and will have to move it up to the top. I wasn't lost while reading Warsworn, but I know I missed some nuances of the story - and what a wonderful story this is.

Xylara (Lara) of the land of Xy is the warprize of Keir, leader of the People of the Plains. She loves him dearly and has a place among the people as a healer, her position in Xy. Lara is still coming to terms with the culture of the Plains people and sometimes feels like a stranger in a strange land. But she loves Keir and he loves her and she has made several good friends among the Plains people.

On their travels, they come to a village marked with signs that Lara recognizes as an indication that illness is there. The illness is plague, and Lara wants practice her healing arts, but Keir forbids her. Lara and her apprentices defy Keir's orders, and go into the village where they find themselves in the midst of a plague that defies all Lara's skill. Worse, the illness spreads to the camp of Keir's people and Iften, a warrior who has been looking for a chance to unseat Keir as Warlord, chooses this time to challenge him.

There's not much emphasis on Keir and Lara's romance, but we know they are a strong and committed couple. The main plot in Warsworn is the plague - its effects on Lara as a character and how it may affect Keir's position in the tribe. The novel ends on an open note and the author leaves many questions unanswered and many plot threads dangling. Will I read the next book? Yes ma'am! I was most intrigued by this world and these people. Keir's people reminded me a little bit of the Plains Indians, with a touch of the Roman Army. They love combat, but are not savage. They are honorable and have an earth-centered spirtuality. There's a delightful sequence where Lara teaches them chess, and the Plains people take to it with glee. They recognise it as war on a board and by the end of the book are playing it with living pieces and have changed the names of some of the pieces to reflect their own ways (they have no castles on the plains).

The book is all told in first person through Lara and she is the only really vivid character, but there are several others who are almost as real as we see them through her eyes. A warning here - several characters die. It's realistic, but Gentle Readers who don't like sad things to happen will be upset.

I am going to go right now and hunt up my copy of Warprize. It's been some time since I've read a really good Otherworld fantasy and Warsworn is a good one. I've tried some where the world was simply too alien. This one is accessible and interesting to boot. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens to Lara and Keir and the rest of the Plains people.

Reviewed by Ellen Micheletti
Grade : B
Book Type: Fantasy Romance

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : March 29, 2006

Publication Date: 2006/04

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