Book Review: The Mage’s Daughter by Lynn Kurland

Posted March 6, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: The Mage’s Daughter by Lynn Kurland

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Mage’s Daughter by Lynn Kurland
Genres: Historical, Fantasy
Published by Penguin on January 2, 2008
Pages: 388
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Dreams of Lilacs, Ever My Love, A Tapestry of Spells, Star of the Morning, Princess of the Sword, Dreamspinner, River of Dreams, Dreamer's Daughter

Second in the Nine Kingdoms historical fantasy series and revolving around Gair of Ceangail’s dead children. The focus is on Morgan of Melksham, er, Mhorghain of Ceangail, and Miach of Neroche.

My Take

There’s a subtle humor running through the Nine Kingdoms, and in this case, it mostly centers on Sìle’s treatment of Miach. There is no way Sìle will allow Miach close to his newly returned granddaughter. Of course, Sìle doesn’t know his granddaughter, lol. I love how the women react *more laughter*.

The prose is a combination of straightforward and flowery — depending on who is speaking or the topic, with a story that is driven by its characters. It’s their choices that result in the adventurous actions in a relatively slow pace.

I do like two of Miach’s brothers, and I especially enjoyed their attitude about the wedding. And isn’t it just like the boorish Adhemar to go too far for his wedding. It does sound like Adaira is his perfect match, *eye roll*

Kurland uses third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Miach’s and Morgan’s perspectives. Miach does a lot of apologizing. Well, he did hide who he was. He’s not alone in this, as everyone is hiding something. There’s a lot of theft going on as well. Seems that Miach steals spells right and left whenever he can. As for the lying… Okay, there are various forms of, um, misinformation. Legends and myths in which the facts are twisted, differing in each version. Holding back information. Or not realizing it could be important. Those journals turned out to be darned handy.

Wow. We learn a lot of Weger’s back history, especially as it relates to Lothar. Nasty. Nasty. Nasty! Why Lothar is still alive, I do not know. There’re also a few battles Weger fought that surprise the heck out of Morgan.

There’s more back history as Kurland reveals a bit more about Sarait’s actions at the well and how Gair’s increasing paranoia drove her to it. As they say, pride goeth before a fall.

Another type of back history is what Morgan learns about herself. That she has magic. A dark magic that comes too easily to her. A family that died due to that dark magic. It’s a lot to take in. Fortunately, she also realizes how Miach has changed her life for the better.

“‘Death is the final surprise.”

It’s through Miach that Adhemar’s idiocy is confirmed as well as Miach’s reasons for being so impatient with him. Well, he had me at idiot, but the rest works too.

I love this story (this series) for Miach’s care and thoughtfulness of Morgan, of the supportiveness of family and friend, and the casual approach to age and family…softly weird.

The Story

He’s not a farmer. He’s a mage. It’s a betrayal so deep…

Miach will do what he must to win Morgan back, even endure the horror of Weger’s keep.

The Characters

Morgan is an orphan who was raised at Lismòr and learned to use a sword under Weger, earning his mark. She stayed on as a swordmaster. Morgan’s mercenary companions include Paien of Allerdale, Glines of Balfour, who is a remarkable cheat, and Camid of Carr are still at Tor Neroche for the wedding.

The Kingdom of Neroche
The twenty-eight-year-old Prince Mochriadhemiach, a.k.a., Miach, has been the archmage of the kingdom for the past fourteen years, tasked with keeping the kingdom magically safe. Able to shift into a hawk or dragon, he’s also the youngest of six boys. The oldest, Adhemar, is king and marrying Adaira of Penrhyn, the demanding eldest princess. The Sword of Neroche is supposed to be a powerful sword helping the king keep the kingdom safe. The Sword of Angeshand was forged with Camanaë, needed to protect the kingdom. Until Morgan broke it. The rest of the brothers include the trustworthy Cathar, the fashion-minded Rigaud, the gentle Nemed, and the twins, Mansourah, whom Miach would trust to convey a message, and Turah, whom he would trust with his back. Their parents, King Anghmar and the charming Queen Desdhemar, gave their lives to save Miach.

The palace of Chagailt is beautiful and a secondary base. King Stefan is a cousin whose land borders Riamh. Mehar of Angeshand forged the Sword of Angeshand, and probably with the help of Gilraehen the Fey, a former king of Neroche.

Beinn òrain is…
…where Buidseachd a great fortress-school of magic, is located. The garden of Gearrannan was a gift to the city by Tòrr Dòrainn.

Lismòr is…
…the university and orphans’ home on the Island of Melksham created by Nicholas, lord of Lismòr, the former wizard king of Diarmailt (and a dragon shifter), and Morgan’s uncle, named in honor of his wife, Lismòrian of Tòrr Dòrainn, Sarait’s sister. William is Nicholas’ serving lad. Cook. Dominicus is the librarian.

Aherin is…
…the home of Hearn, the lord of Angesand, and his remarkable horses with their own language. Hearn’s got some kinda hayloft as well… And Hearn loses a couple more horses to Miach and Morgan: Fleòd and Luath, respectively. Corbair was Hearn’s great-great-grandfather, who taught Sosar a few words. Those two horses are a couple of gossips!

Gobhann is…
… a miserably cold magic sink and the home base of Scrymgeour Weger, a famed swordmaster who hates, hates, hates mages. Weger is also Lothar’s grandson, many generations removed. Odo is the gatekeeper, and the first test. Stephen is Weger’s page. Paul is the novices’ mentor. Master John is something of a medic. Searbhe, Weger’s cousin, is one of the students and hates Miach with a passion.

Tòrr Dòrainn is…
…an elven kingdom of which Sìle is king. His queen is Brèagha, the daughter of Beusach of An Cèin. Làidir and Sosar, the youngest, are their sons. Their daughters include Lismòrian and Sarait, who were both murdered by Gair; Ciatach, who is wed to Agur of Ainneamh; Sona, who is wed to a distant cousin, Dileabach; and, Alainne, who is wed to Murdoch of Meith. Màire of Meith is Miach’s grandmother several generations removed — and Alainne’s youngest daughter. Seanagarra is Sìle’s palace. Dionadair is an elven soldier. Leabhrach is the testy librarian.

Ainneamh is…
…another elven kingdom. Draghail and Buaireil have been invited by Sìle to court Morgan.

Cruadal of Duibhreas is another potential suitor, who challenges Miach.

Riamh is…
…the land of the black mage, Lothar of Wychweald, who takes pleasure in the terror of his quarry. Symon of Wychweald is a descendant and was the first king of Neroche. Never marry into Lothar’s family. You’ll die. Yngerame is Lothar’s father; his mother was one of Sìle’s granddaughters.

Ceaghail is…
…Gair’s home base. A very black mage, the son of Eulasaid of Camanaë and Sgath of Ainneamh, who had once been Nicholas’ friend for centuries. He had fooled Sarait, the youngest of Sìle’s daughters, into marrying him. They had six sons, including Keir, the eldest at twenty-eight, Rùnach, Brogach, Gille, Eglach, and Ruithneadh and a six-year-old daughter, Mhorghain. The sons conspired with their mother to take down Gair and protect Mhorghain.

Wehr of Wrekin is another black mage, supposedly stronger than Lothar, rumored to be dead. Wehr is/was Queen Desdhemar’s grandfather.

The various magics include Camanaë; Fadaire is the magic of the elves of Tòrr Dòrainn; Olc is evil; Caochladh is of changing the essence of a thing and taught only by one mage; Wexham, quick and brutal, is the magic of Neroche; and, Croxteth.

The Cover and Title

The cover is icy blues and white. The cobalt blue of a cloudy sky is reflected in the mountain rising up to the author’s name. Framing Morgan on either side are snow-laden evergreens with smaller, less snowy, trees behind her. Wearing an off-white medieval-style dress with tight upper sleeves and flared purple print lower sleeves, a deeper purple front bodice with a pointed apron bordered in a figured purple, and more of the purple print in two godets in the skirt, Morgan herself stands facing us, her long curly hair framing her face. Her right arm is raised to waist level, holding a glowing green stone. Her left hand rests on the hilt of her sword. At the very top is an info blurb in white. The author’s name is below this in a purple outlined white, fancy serif font. Level and to the left of Morgan’s thighs is a testimonial in white. The title starts at Morgan’s knees in a lighter blue outlined in cobalt. Below the title is the series information in blue.

The title is Morgan’s true identity, The Mage’s Daughter.

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