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* Author website at www.karenmiller.net
Karen Miller was born in Vancouver, Canada, and came to Australia with her family when she was two. She has held a variety of interesting jobs and fell in love with speculative fiction at primary school.
Miller, and Hachette's new mass market imprint Orbit, debuts with a solid epic that posits political intrigue, ethereal prophecies and a rags-to-riches hero against a vivid if familiar fantasy backdrop (sure to provoke dej... vu in fans of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire). Fisherman's son Asher seeks his fortune in the capital city of Dorana, home to the royal family and the magic-using race called Doranen. After a chance encounter, Asher begins working in the palace as assistant/apprentice to Crown Prince Gar; meanwhile, an underground sect watches Asher and secretly guides his fate, believing him the key to an ancient, apocalyptic prophecy. The erudite Prince Gar, meanwhile, has concerns of his own: flagging popularity (over his decision to take lowly Asher under his wing) and his combative sister's inheritance, the weather-controlling magic that keeps their kingdom secure. Though Asher's cynical salt-of-the-earth act is overused, and characters can be frustratingly pouty, Miller's prose is earnest and engaging, and his complex story accelerates nicely toward a brutal cliffhanger finale. Hints of an epic confrontation to come will leave readers eager to find out, in forthcoming installments, where Asher's destiny leads. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
The youngest son of a fishing family, Asher leaves home to make his fortune in the great inland city of Dorana; his journey leads him to the royal court and to a strange friendship with Prince Gar, the only member of the royal family who lacks the Doranian gift of magic, and to two commoners, a bookseller and the king's stablemaster, who see in Asher the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy signaling a great and possibly devastating change in the world. First published in Britain, Miller's debut novel portrays a fresh new fantasy universe where two races-one magical, the other apparently lacking in magic-coexist in apparent harmony unaware that they are on the verge of upheaval. Intriguing characters and a finely tuned sense of drama and pacing make this first in a two-book series a good addition to most fantasy collections. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Top-notch fantasy . . . a masterclass writer * SFFWORLD * Miller is clearly a very talented writer: her characterisation is a masterclass in nuance and sensitivity, and she has a visceral way with action * SFX * A writer who seems to set the rule for the genre * WATERSTONE'S BOOKS QUARTERLY *