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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Soprano Sorceress by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

The Soprano Sorceress by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. New York: Tor, 1997. ISBN: 0-312-86022-6

Anna is a middle-aged singer, a teacher and a performer, caught in the politics at her second-rate college. Her children are grown; their father has left her; her supporters at the college are growing fewer: in short, she's in an increasingly desperate situation. One day she impulsively wishes she could run away . . . to anywhere. Just anywhere away from her situation.

At that exact same moment, in another world, far away, a spell-singer sings a spell to bring a powerful sorceress from the mist worlds, other worlds. And Anna suddenly finds herself elsewhere, in another world entirely. In this world, it turns out, music is magic. Write a verse of poetry, set it to music, sing it powerfully and accurately, and voilĂ , reality is changed, the thing is done!

In this world, it turns out, Anna is indeed, a powerful sorceress. But that doesn't mean things are all hunky dory. Quite the contrary. Defalk, the country into which she's been summoned is in dire trouble. Enemies surround on every side, plotting to add portions of its territory to their domains. An evil dark lord, a powerful sorcerer, is the most immediate threat, having racked Defalk with several years of drought.

Even after Anna has assisted powerfully in the defeat of one attack by the dark ones, the ostensible leaders in Defalk are not uniformly grateful. Instead, they plot to remove her. She is too dangerous, and too beautiful. Reluctantly, pushed against her will, she eventually moves against them, and takes control of the kingdom as regent for the underage, but rightful heir.

Modesitt is a master of fantasy, and the story is well-told, compelling, and entertaining. The music aspect is especially appealing to a musician such as myself. This is actually the second time I've read this book. It is the first of the five books which comprise The Spellsong Cycle. I read the first two in the series some years ago, probably when they first came out, but never got around to reading the rest, so I naturally decided to go back to the beginning and work my way through them all in the correct order. Highly recommended for all fantasy fans.

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