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The Bone Doll's Twin (book 1 of the Tamir Trilogy) by Lynn Flewelling

Review by Caleyna

I don't know if I can say it any better than GRRM: "Thoroughly engrossing".

I really enjoyed Flewelling's Nightstalker series, but I recognized that the plot was a little slow. Not so with this book. Not so at all.

In the land of Skala, an Oracle has decreed that a Queen must rule if the country is to be prosperous. For many years a queen has sat upon the throne, but after the death of the last mad queen the people were content to let her son steal the kingom from his young half-sister and rule the country in her stead.

The king is afraid a queen will de-throne him, so he has all the women and children of the royal line killed. He only spares his half-sister, though he keeps her close and under tight control.

The wizard Iya knows that a queen must rule the country if the wars, droughts, and plauges are to come to an end, but who? Then the princess becomes pregnant with twins and an Oracle reveals what Iya must do, even if it means the death of an innocent baby boy.

Iya, with the help of a forbidden blood-magic witch, delivers the princess' babies (twins) and kills the little boy. The blood-witch works a strange magic, giving the little girl and future king the appearence of a boy child, her brother.

And things only get more interesting from there. . .

Set hundreds of years before the Nightrunner series, it is interesting to see some of the "history" that was revealed in those three books. Though the story focuses on Tobin, a young boy who is really a girl, there is a lot of political intrigue as well. Wizards and priests are being killed. Wizards are forced to wear numbered badges not unlike the Jews in the Holocaust. Life is dangerous.

Tobin's father moves his family to an old keep and raises his son almost as a peasant boy. He is allowed no companions, lest his secret is discovered. He is attended by a demon spirit which scares him more than helps him. His mother is mad. There are strange happenings all around him. How will he ever be fit to rule?

The characters in this book are very believable, from the honorable Tharin and Ki, to the haunted Tobin. A mad mother and a guilty father make life hard for poor Tobin. A wizard apprentice and a forest witch friend are the only people to trust.

Can you tell I totally loved this book? I was totally caught up in the plot from the first page. I was in shock at the end of the book and felt as if my life was dimmer b/c I couldn't continue in the world of Tobin. This is really an outstanding book and I can't wait for the sequel. Five out of five amulets.

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