Lord of the Isles

by David Drake

Reviewed by Coral

A thousand years ago, a war raged between Carus, King of the Isles, and Tedry, rebellious Duke of Yole. Neither of them would win, as the powers of Tedry's wizard, the Hooded One, caused destruction no one could imagine: the ocean rose to swallow Carus' fleet and the entire isle of Yole.

Now the world is a very different place, backwater villages where once kings ruled, seats of power over top what once where stinking swamps. But as Tenoctris, a mildly powerful wizard who saved herself from dying with Yole by throwing herself into the future, is about to learn, some things don't change, no matter what time you're in. There are still wizards using power they don't even begin to comprehend, another rebellious duke is trying to steal the throne, and the Hooded One is out there still, controlling men and women like pawns, in a war against a wizard of such power, that even he may not be able to win this battle.

Now four simple villagers, Garric, Sharina, Ilna and Cashel, are about to learn they're anything but, and be drawn in to a world they never imagined. They will be used as pawns in a way they can't see, unless Tenoctris can use what little power she has to help them survive.

Okay, so I was ready to be turned off by the whole Mary Sue setup of the story. I mean, woman falling into another time, country villagers learning they're heirs to nobility, they've all been done in countless many horrible fanfiction stories that I've stopped reading. But the results weren't nearly so horrible here.

I enjoyed the simplistic style of the book, with everyone trying to live their lives, but being caught up in something big and unseen. I liked how they weren't just plopped down into the middle of the intrigue, that they didn't become the confidents of people of power, that they were pawns being moved around on a board for other peoples' advancements.

I don't like the character of Ilna and I can't forgive her for the things she did in this book. I'm afraid it'll all be glossed over and she'll be able to get her happy ending.

I could do without the love triangles, and if the series ends with the predictable Garric-Ilna and Cashel-Sharina hookups I'll be a little disappointed.

I also had to suspend my disbelief quite a lot that no one thought to look at Garric's parentage when they found out his sister was really the daughter of a count. I mean, really.

Still, a good, solid opening to a series, that I won't be able to finish for awhile, because I don't currently own the other books.

Grade: B