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Inda Mass Market Paperback – August 7, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


A fantasy world fit for the most discriminating medieval partisan. -- Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Sherwood Smith started making books out of paper towels at age six. In between stories, she studied and traveled in Europe, got a Masters degree in history, and now lives in Southern California with her spouse, two kids, and two dogs. She’s worked in jobs ranging from counter work in a smoky harbor bar to the film industry. Writing books is what she loves best. She’s the author of the high fantasy History of Sartorias-deles series as well as the modern-day fantasy adventures of Kim Murray in Coronets and Steel. Learn more at

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Product Details

  • Series: Inda (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: DAW; Reprint edition (August 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756404223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756404222
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.4 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #584,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sherwood Smith studied in Austria, finally earning a master's in history--she's been a governess, a bartender, and wore various hats in the film industry before turning to teaching for 20 years. She began her publishing career in 1986. To date she's published over forty books, nominated for several awards, including the Nebula, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and an Anne Lindbergh Honor Book.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By mare on August 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I waited for this book a long time - had it pre-ordered when it was first scheduled for release, and then the release was delayed for additinal revisions. I have much enjoyed Sherwood Smith's books and short stories set in this world. And I enjoyed Inda, a lot. The world she built is complex and sophisticated (although strangely lacking even mention of religious structure - no matter your personal beliefs, all cultures tend to have a faith system to explain and express spirituality...and it usually becomes entwined in some fashion with governing bodies, for good or evil.) Her chararcters have depth, and are interesting to follow. Inda, the main character, is a joy, and I like Smith's trick of showing how Inda is seen through the eyes of other characters - different perspectives add richness to the reader's understanding of Inda.

The book is basically divided into two periods - Inda at school and Inda banished to the sea. Throughout the book, I found myself continually surprised to be reminded how young Inda is. The book reads like an adult book, but the plot in many ways echoes the common theme of a young adolescent away at school learning to deal with others of his age, or older, without the protection or structure of family. Learning skills, winning allies, making friends and enemies. Smith moves the story to a more adult level by reflecting the perspectives of both adults and other adolescents throughout the kingdom she has created, and allowing this to be the story of more than Inda. The political maneuvering and agendas reminded me more of George Martin. Personally, I find multiple points of view can be distracting and irritating, especially when told from the view of "the bad guy", or unsympathetic characters.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Hinds on September 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Inda is quite a bit different from what I expected--it is not the "comfort reading" that Crown Duel is for me. This is a much more complicated (and more adult) story, told in omniscient POV and spanning many years, and set in a harsh society where physical abuse of younger brothers by elder brothers is a thoroughly accepted component of education and training for adult responsibilities. Smith's worldbuilding, however, is so complete that although my sheltered sensibilities would normally recoil from this kind of endemic violence, it is understandable within the context of the story, and we readers are able to empathize with the characters' attitudes toward this and other aspects of their world. And the characters are wonderful: Inda, with his kindheartedness and inborn genius for military strategy; Sponge, the scholarly young prince of whom no one expects much; Hadand, the future wife of the crown prince, pursuing secret studies in magic; Tau, the beautiful pleasure-house boy who becomes a mercenary sailor; Tanrid, Inda's honorable, conscientious, tough-minded brother.... There are villains here, too, driven by lust or greed or jealousy, or simply by their own ideas of what is good for the kingdom; there are no hard and fast moral lines, and sympathetic characters are sometimes misguided, sometimes make tragic mistakes.

There are many intriguing aspects to Inda's militaristic society; I am particularly fascinated by the gender roles. Noble boys and girls both receive military training, but the girls' is focused on castle defense, while the boys' emphasizes offensive tactics, equestrian skills, and the like, for they will be the ones to ride out to war.
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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Steven T. Russell on September 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
leaving the rest of us to play catch-up at times, but in a world imagined this intensely, there's always going to be more detail than can ever be brought into any one storyline.

That's the case here--the reader is left entirely convinced that, around any corner, in any cupboard, whether we find ourselves in a hovel, castle, mansion, or country, aboard a ship or aboard a stallion, still more consistent but surprising detail lurks, waiting to be found.

While I understand the annoyance of the reviewer below--a stutterer herself, who finds the character of the "evil," stuttering heir-to-the-throne too one-dimensional--the stuttering is NOT actually portrayed as the root of the prince's evil. In fact, this prince is presented sympathetically in several respects: at several different points, he attempts to resist his "weaknesses," the less-than-noble character traits we all have. But his "evil" uncle consistently undercuts the prince's efforts. And even the uncle is not presented as inherently evil, but as rather-complexly conflicted--so driven by his own need to demonstrate his loyalty that he's ultimately led into disloyally. The uncle's motivating passions and jealousies are themselves traced back to an earlier generation's envies and enmities.

Ultimately, the elite, governing strata of Inda's society is shown to contain its own vein of weakness: an "Achilles' heel" of abusive behavior, in which brothers are pitted against one another, supposedly to develop their strength. As with the British "public" school system, sometimes strength and bonding emerge from this corrupt cauldron; sometimes cruelty and competitiveness are fostered instead.
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