At first I shook my head at the unfamiliar place names (Landsreel, the Alcinic Ocean) and the mention of several mysterious beings (the Holy Sisters, the Goddess, the High Born). Then, by the time I had read the second chapter, I was fully swept up in the intricately described life of Tia, the young daughter of the king who is to be used as the pawn in her father’s desperate attempt to save and perpetuate his kingdom.
I always appreciate subtle detail that also sets place and mood, and Miriam is very good at it. Read, for instance, this description of riders now dismounted, leaving the royal stables: “men crested in a wave through the front entrance, boots hammering the floor, bearing the mixed scent of sweat, leather, and horses with them. . . . I heard varying thuds of greater and lesser buttocks meeting chairs, the solid sound of drinking vessels on the wooden table, and then silence.” Combine those details with the images of honey-cakes, bathing tubs, verbena soap; and this particularly well-imagined detail: “Andun threw back his chair so hard it left curls of wax in the freshly-polished floor.”
Detail by detail, Miriam builds her setting. By the time the book opens on chapter 4, I am hollow-throated along with Tia, wondering how the king could consign this lovely young girl to the embraces of a man “thrice her age.”
I can tell already that this book will be a page-turner and a tale intricately wrought as a medieval tapestry. I will continue my comments later. For now, let this introduction be enough for a while to persuade you to buy The King's Daughter by Miriam Newman.