Sword of Queens
by: Joan Marie Verba
Blurb: The kingdom of Somerlie has been in the grip of the evil overlord Tashtalon for over 500 years. No one has ever seen Tashtalon, but he puts the kingdom to sleep every night, and during the night, people disappear, never to be seen again. Gill has spent her life thinking these things could not possibly be changed, until strange events point her to the only thing that can defeat Tashtalon…a magical weapon called the Sword of Queens. To prevent its use, Tashtalon made a law saying that any woman wielding a sword will be put to death…and he enforces that law savagely. Can Gill summon the courage to find the sword and use it before Tashtalon kills her?
Review: Joan Verba’s Sword of Queens is told from the prospective of Gill; a soon to be 23 year old living in a world ruled by magic and an evil lord.
Verba brought me into her web of intrigue from the beginning of the book. Who is Tashtalon? Is he a God? Why would he devour a sleeping boy? Did he really devour anyone or was that just a ploy for some other sinister goings on? I needed answers, and I also needed to understand this world. Not only was Gill’s city ruled by men, women were not permitted to carry swords, could not take interest in politics, had to wait for a man to ask for their hand and it seemed were alive only to serve.
Magic ruled this strange city and those who lived within it’s boundaries either accepted the magical peace or were “Devoured by Tashtalon.” Stories and lore suggested that women were dis-empowered because it was believed they were the only ones who could defeat Tastalon. How could a woman defeat a god?
As the story progressed, Verba spun a web of intrigue that kept me interested to the last page. My arms began to wrap themselves around Gill and her mission in life.
Gill quietly abhorred the concept of Tashtalon being a God. She knew differently but didn’t know why. Her grandmother, an elderly women with difficulties of age, was wise and spoke of a different life before Tashtalon. But how could that be? Was there a time before this God and if so, how did this God gain his authority to rule?
One of the many aspects of the story that I found extremely interesting was the concept of sleep. For what reason did everyone fall asleep two hours after sunset and wake two hours before sunrise? Everyone, no matter where they were at the sound of the chime, fell asleep, whether in their own bed or playing in a field – sleep overpowered them – Intriguing!
My questions were answered as the story matured, but as soon as one was answered it was replaced with another, forcing me to continue the journey along with Gill.
As Gill approached her 23rd birthday, she was expected to take a year “To Find Herself” or as many put it “To Make Her Fortune” It was her duty to leave her job and travel to distant places to learn her way in this strange world in which she lived. When Gill took her leave she was engulfed by the stories of her grandmother and others who told of that time prior to being ruled by Lord Tasthalon. Her year off would definitely be the time that she would find herself.
I not only enjoyed reading Sword of Queens, I was disappointing when I finished.
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