- Series: Epona (Book 4)
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (June 9, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312876165
- ISBN-13: 978-0312876166
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,036,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Daughter of Lir (Epona) Hardcover – June 9, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Tarr, a historian turned historical fantasist, follows White Mare's Daughter with another richly imagined tale of priestess/warrior culture clash. The Bronze Age city of Lir, founded by the matriarchal horse-goddess worshippers of the prequel, faces an impending war against invaders armed with the most fearsome device ever: the chariot. The story begins when ill omens persuade Lir's Priestess Mother to reject her long-awaited baby daughter, who is then raised in obscurity by a potter and his wife. Rhian grows up intelligent and willful, the wind whispering visions to her, her dreams filled with images of a powerfully destructive war machine. Riding off from her village astride the living goddess White Mare after she is passed over by a priestess recruiter, Rhian joins forces with Prince Emry, her brother by birth as well as in arms. They travel to the land of their enemies, where the king has fallen victim to the witchery of his young wife, Etena, despite the courageous efforts of his first wife, Aera, and his sons, Minas and Dais. Disguised as traders, Rhian and Emry master the art of building chariots and the politics of patriarchal polygamy. Knowing they will someday meet in battle, Rhian and Etena make a daring trade Emry for Minas. Full of adventure and romance, Tarr's tale tops her usual fare (The Queen of Swords, etc.) through its ingenious evocation of early civilizations sharing knowledge, culture and family. Lir's matriarchal utopia will please feminists and romantics alike, while the war scenes will satisfy others' thirst for blood and justice. (June) Forecast: Xena devotees albeit those with long attention spans are the ideal market for this one. But the cover art, featuring a trio of fecund horses, barely hints at what's inside.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In her new novel, Tarr returns to the ancient pagan world of White Mare's Daughter (LJ 6/1/98). Terrible omens at Rhian's birth led priestesses to conceal her heritage. Rhian grows up believing herself to be a potter's daughter, when in fact she is the Mother's heir in the city of Lir, whose matriarchal society is once again threatened by tribes from the steppe. Rhian, chosen by the White Mare to be a servant of the goddess, is determined to capture a chariot, recently invented by the invading tribes, and build an army to defend her homeland. Minas and Dias, sons of the tribes' king, are just as determined to conquer the peaceful, wealthy people of Lir. Will love and loyalty triumph in this clash of cultures? Appealing characters enliven the rather predictable plot. Recommended for most public libraries, particularly where Tarr is popular. Laurel Bliss, Yale Univ. Lib.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
To me, this was one of the best books Tarr's come out with lately. It's not underwritten, it's not boring (it all actually takes place in less than a decade, though only just), and although here and there the plot tries to go in too many directions at once, for the most part it works.
Tarr's books are romance novels with action and magic. Relations between men and women, often of different cultures, are central to nearly everything she writes. Readers who don't like this element are advised to stay away from her work--I'm usually not too fond of the romancey subgenres myself. However, she does it well; there's plenty of spice and both the female and male characters have depth and personality, though there's a little too much "war of the genders" phrasing for me. In Daughter of Lir, both Rhian and Minas, the foremost of several pairs in the book, are well-drawn, appealing people.
The historical recreation generally works well for me and the horse nomads are great -- I don't know if any actual historical or archaeological evidence supports Tarr's conception, but since it's such early history that doesn't seem indispensable here. I did find it a bit hard to believe that a strongly patriarchal tribe would have a "Year-King" ritual (which apparently is never performed except when the witchy antagonist needs to use it as a threat). Battle scenes are good, though here and there the plot structure gets confusing. The horses are wonderful--sometimes on the verge of being too anthropomorphic, but never sliding over. The fact that the matriarchal society is far from a utopia adds verisimilitude.
This well-written book keeps a good pace, and Tarr's academic credentials make her depiction of the cultures seem vividly real; even the use of magic (even more clearly an actual working force than in the previous books) seems to fit the novel. Tarr is especially skilled in depicting, with but a few words, deep and complex relationships between individuals without making it seem like vapid romance. Last of all, her style is an impeccably clean prose, not simplistic but simply very clear and unaffected by a desire to seem 'literary'. All in all, the novel was a joy to read.