When an elderly king’s heir dies the country’s noble families start jockeying for position all hoping the new heir will be selected from their stock. One minor noble, unlikely to be named heir, seeks to improve his standing by reuniting the king with his long ago disinherited son. In order to do this he heads across a mountain range into uncharted territory following in the footsteps of the renegade son and his entourage. What he finds there are the remains of a burnt out village and a wild teenaged girl. He believes the girl to be the king’s granddaughter and wants her to return to society with his small band of men.
The girl was raised by wolves and is more wolf than human. She agrees to accompany the men back to civilization on the proviso that a giant wolf keeps her company. They agree and after some initial training she is presented to the court where she is received by the other nobles with great suspicion.
Fortunately life amongst a pack of wolves has left her reasonably well prepared for life at court. She makes a few friends and carves out a place for herself.
As domestic political intrigue deepens, war breaks out on the boarders and the girl finds herself and her wolf-like skills in demand.
After a decisive battle peace is declared, the king treats with a neighbouring nation marrying his heir to theirs. The move garners much support from both nations but enemies are made as well and the question is left as to how long the peace might last.
This fantasy novel is first and foremost a tale of political intrigue. My brief synopsis here goes no way towards describing the complex network of personalities and alliances that make up the backbone of the story. Though there are several fantasy elements, including hints of magic and talking animals, they remain decidedly in the background. The setting is well described (my copy even had a map) and the world building excellent. There is also just a hint of romance. This is the first book in a series of six but could easily stand alone, with most of the big questions answered by the end of the story. There is no great cliff hanging ending forcing a reader to pursue the rest of the series in order to find answers to basic questions. This is a blessing in a genre that often asks more of a commitment from readers-here you can sample the author’s style in a satisfying manner and if you chose not to continue with the series you have still read a great story.
Though this is was not what I expected (I had thought there would me more of child raised by wolves and less of political machinations) and, to be honest, not something I would have read if the synopsis had been clearer as to the content, I still enjoyed it very much and may read the rest of this series at some point.-Lynn