In Siaris, a world contained under the outer shell of a planet, life is a continual battle between the winged Guardians, an immortal race, created eons ago and imbued with magical spell powers and the Morraeth. In an eternally snow and sleet swept fortress with an endless need for slaves captured from among elden, another immortal race less resilient than the Guardians, and humans, these ancient gods are served by the traitor Guardian, Xereth. Fuelled by an implacable hatred for his family he has allied himself with their enemies, becoming the lieutenant of their fortress.
Life in the fortress is as bleak and cruel as the eternal winter that surrounds it and those who live within it, whether they are half Guardian, human or elden, are all slaves to the Morraeth.
But something unexpected has happened in the Morraeth fortress. An elden slave is about to give birth to Xereth's child. Revetia (her self-chosen name means daughter of hope) is a unplanned child who should never have been conceived and her birth signals changes - for her siblings, her father, the Morraeth and her extended family.
On her website the author says the world of Siaris has been part of her imagination since she was a young girl and it shows in the way she evokes the brutal, freezing land of the Morraeth as cleverly as she does the more gentle world of the other parts of Siaris. Her language is lyrical, almost poetic, but never slips that step too far so we lose a sense of reality. Revetia's story is part of the larger one of Siaris and in a wide-ranging story where old wounds fuel actions that affect the whole of the world she is a catalyst for change.
I loved this book. The beautifully described world with its rich detail, the well drawn characters and the complex and satisfying story line drew me in and I was delighted to find it was only the first of a quartet of stories. I will certainly be revisiting Siaris.
Daughter of Hope was published by Urania, the fantasy imprint of Musa Publishing, in 2012 and is available as an e-book from Amazon.com and Musa Publishing.
Joanna Fay blogs at her website here.