Friday, February 24, 2012

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta (Lumatere Chronicles book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read Finnikin of the Rock, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.
Blood sings to blood … Those born last will make the first … For Charyn will be barren no more.
Three years have passed since the events in Finnikin of the Rock. Froi has lived with Lord August and his family in the village of Sayles working to restore the land to its former brilliance. He also has worked with Captain Trevanion and his men of the Guard at the Palace protecting Queen Isaboe, Finnikin and their daughter, Princess Jasmina. Froi has become an excellent fighter with a sharp mind who continues working to contain his temper and control his actions. Perri is training a group of men for a mission to assassinate the King of Charyn and Froi is one of them. He continues to feel a bond to Finnikin and particularly to Queen Isaboe and would do anything to prove his worth.

 At the foot of the Monts’ mountain, some Charynites have begun to take refuge in the valley. Phaedra, a Charynite who married Lucian of the Monts, is requesting a meeting with either Isaboe or Finnikin. It turns out that Lucian, now leader of the Monts, rejected her as his wife and sent her back to Charyn. He saw her as weak whereas the Mont women have strong personalities. Unfortunately, it is a source of discontent between Lucian and Isaboe. When Rafuel, a Charynite, attacks one of Tesadora’s novices, he is quickly detained. Froi, Lucian, Perri, Finnikin and Trevanion question Rafuel with Phaedra acting as their translator. Rafuel soon finds a bargaining chip when he offers them a way into the palace to kill the King of Charyn. He lets the Lumaterians know that Charyn was responsible for their country’s five days of the unspeakable thirteen years prior when they were invaded. He also tells of Charyn’s own curse. Tesadora figures out pretty quickly that none of the refugees are children. Rafuel tells them that no children have been born to Charyn for the past eighteen years. The country’s youngest child is the King’s bastard daughter, Princess Quintana. The country was torn apart by internal strife. On the day Quintana was born, the oracle queen (holy woman) threw herself into the ravine and no children have been born since that day. The Lumaterians are stunned.

Rafuel continues the story that when Quintana was six, a phrase was found written on her bedroom wall in her own blood; “The last will make the first.” On her thirteenth birthday, better known as the day of weeping, the King decreed that every last born girl be marked since they were now of childbearing age. Since the message appeared on her wall, Quintana has claimed that hse was meant to be the first to bear a child, a boy child. If anyone else were to do so, it would cause the destruction of Charyn. Quintana will soon turn eighteen and the last remaining last born male who hasn’t been with Quintana will soon arrive at the Palace in an attempt to impregnate her. Finnikin wants to know why he is telling them this. “’Because you have a lad who speaks our language, who is of the same age as our last born, and who is not so useless. More important, he is trained as an assassin.’ Rafuel’s eyes caught Froi’s. ‘Yes?’”

The plan is for Froi to travel to Charyn under the guise of being Olivier of Sebastabal, the final last born. But when Froi arrives at the Palace, the situation is far from what he expected. Princess Quintana seems to be wrestling with split personalities, no one has seen the King for a year and his traveling companion seems to know something about Froi but isn’t saying.

Will Froi be successful in his mission to Charyn? What exactly is the situation surrounding Quintana and her supposed madness? Is Quintana the one to break Charyn’s curse and who will help her? And where does Froi’s journey lead him?

Even though Froi is the main character in this installment, don’t fret. There is plebty of action involving Finnikin and Isaboe, Trevanion and Beatriss, as well as Lucian to satisfy those fans of Finnikin of the Rock.

Melina Marchetta will conclude the Lumatere Chronicles with Quintana of Charyn due out in the US in March of 2013.

Visit Melina Marchetta's website.

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