The Shadow Sorceress: The Fourth Book of the Spellsong Cycle
L. E. Modesitt. Jr.
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L.E. Modesitt, Jr., has developed a wide readership with his popular fantasy novels set in the universe of Recluce. With more than a million copies in print, he continues to build a substantial audience with each new volume. He widened that audience with the first three volumes of the Spellsong Cycle set in a compelling and imaginative world where music is the vehicle for the creation and wielding of magic. He now returns to that universe for a new series of tales starring a new heroine who must face a succession of deadly political and military threats.
The Shadow Sorceress continues the story begun in the first Spellsong trilogy but focuses on the challenges facing Secca, now a young Sorceress. She is thrust into a position of power and responsibility when her mentor, Anna, the legendary Sorceress Protector of Defalk and the heroine of the original trilogy, dies unexpectedly before Secca's training as a master magic wielder is anywhere near complete.
Despite her reservations concerning the skills and strength of the ruler of the kingdom, Secca must immediately take command of all her magical resources to help suppress internal dissension in a neighboring province. Then she must rally potential allies to lift the naval siege laid on Nordwei by the Sea Priests, who bring with them a new kind of drumming magic that threatens the balance of power in the world, portending danger and destruction not imagined for decades.
Secca learns to fight battles with sorcerous skills she has never used before, while leading an army for the first time. She must master diplomacy in order to save her ruler and his kingdom, form alliances with unfriendly potential allies, and mediate power struggles among ambitious and disparate societies. At the same time she discovers an unexpected chance for love and companionship in a world where few men are wise enough to value women as anything more than wives, mistresses, or mothers.
Coping with these challenges, Secca proves herself more than just a quick study; she has become a woman with a limitless capacity for courage, personal growth, and fearless commitment to survival and fighting the good fight.
shingles, and each window had both glass and shutters. The shutters on the ground floor windows had all been closed and fastened. On the downhill and western side of the road was a long expanse of brown grass—surrounded by a neat stone wall slightly more than a yard high. Within the wall Secca could see several circular briar-rose gardens, and low and trimmed yews and pfitzers. On the far side of the green were smaller dwellings, cottages, but they too were neat. Beyond the smaller dwellings on
appreciated Anna’s insistence on all the women apprentice sorceresses and fosterlings learning skills with blades, perhaps because of the attack on Falcor when Secca had been a child, Secca had been well into her twenties before she had begun to understand fully the value of the vocal exercises and endless technique—or the songs from the Mist Worlds that were scarcely spells at all, except perhaps love spells. And the thought of learning songs or spells in five or six languages, as Anna had…Secca
each one weighing nearly two stones, lay in rows on the red-sand soil between the sorceress and the pit. “Lady…” Richina extended a water bottle. Flashes—daystars—flickered before Secca, as she took the water and began to sip slowly from the bottle. “You need to eat,” urged the apprentice. Secca took a small mouthful of the bread that would get crustier with each day of travel, then a bite of the white cheese, then more bread, and another swallow from the water bottle. Murmurs drifted from
knowing that the younger woman would scarce listen, not with the glow in her eyes. “You did not seem totally pleased.” “I’m thinking about tomorrow…and what lies before us,” Secca replied. After a moment, she added, “You will need to help with the scrying. We will need some rough maps of where the Sturinnese forces are.” “Yes, lady.” Richina smiled, but her eyes flicked toward the road, and Haddev. Secca repressed a sigh. At least, when she had been young, and in love with love, Robero’s
each of the overcaptains, for the moment she rode beside Haddev, with Richina and Palian following directly behind. “…have you always visited Silberfels often?” she asked the heir to Synek, offering a smile that was less than she felt. “I was fostered there for a year when I was thirteen, as was Verad three years ago when he was fourteen. We rode back together this time.” Haddev laughed. “That was how we came to have two companies of lancers. My uncle did not feel one company was enough in