A singer/music instructor becomes a sorceress in this first in a new series.
The author of the popular Recluce series (The Magic of Recluce, etc.) begins a new, enchantingly musical series. Anna Marshal, singer and teacher in Ames, Iowa, is leading a lousy life. Her eldest daughter has recently died, her ex-husband treats her like an idiot and university politics are smothering her. When she wishes to be "anywhere" else, she is magically spirited away to Erde, a medieval parallel world where sung music can produce earth-shattering results. Though Anna protests that she is a singer, not a composer, her no-nonsense approach to life and her impressive vocal talents swiftly make her one of the most powerful sorceresses in the kingdom. She must work swiftly to utilize her potential or risk seeing the people starved and fried as Darksingers invade the land. Modesitt paints a convincing portrait of a mature woman with integrity who, when given power and opportunity, rises from doormat to beneficent leader; some of Anna's best moments include teaching accounting skills to the surprised locals. While the plot holds few surprises, watching Anna disprove the old adage about absolute power and corruption makes this feminist frolic a good deal of fun. (Feb.)