From Publishers Weekly
Medalon is a country ringed by hostile, heathen nations and beset by internal politics filled with blackmail, backbiting and single-minded power-mongering-at least that's how it seems to R'shiel Tenragen, the wayward 18-year-old daughter of the First Sister of the Blade and the appealing heroine of Australian author Fallon's sparkling high fantasy debut. In Medalon, the Sisterhood has systematically stamped out any trace of religion and the heathenish belief in the gods and in the Harshini, mythical, magical beings who some think bridge the gap between gods and men. But suppose that the Harshini really did exist and that they are living still. Suppose that the gods have given the Harshini a task so big and so difficult that they nearly can't encompass it. Worse yet, suppose that R'shiel, a postulant of the Sisterhood, becomes part of this Herculean task. Fallon ponders all these possibilities and more in this satisfying melodrama, stocked with well-developed characters with clear motivations that carry them through a series of byzantine plots and counterplots, a mini-rebellion and even face-to-face contact with a variety of gods.
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The Sisters of the Blade, backed by warriors known as the Defenders, have ruled Medalon for two centuries, forbidding pagan worship or belief in any god. The people of Karien, to the north, are fanatic worshipers of a single god, and to the south, fervent belief in the heathen gods prevails. Eighteen-year-old R'shiel has long fought her coldhearted mother's domination, but her half-brother, Tarja, is a colonel in the Defenders. When their mother becomes First Sister, however, the two defy her machinations and, forced to flee for their lives, get caught up in a rebellion against the Sisterhood. Also part of the mix are the mysterious Harshini, who were assumed to be extinct, and the gods themselves, who readily mix in human affairs as they search for the Demon Child they had created to destroy an evil god. In her first novel, beginning the Hythrun Chronicles, Australian author Fallon conjures a viable, richly detailed world and its disparate societies. Characterizations, including those of the interfering gods, are well realized, and the suspense is palpable throughout. Sally EstesCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved