- € 3,99
Karigan G'ladheon always seemed to be getting into a fight, and today was no exception.
But as she trudged through the forest, using her long walk home to contemplate her depressing future - and the expulsion it was bound to hold - a horse burst through the woodland and charged straight for her. The rider was slumped over his mount's neck with two arrows embedded in his back. Wherever his horse was taking him, he would be dead before they got there.
There's nothing Karigan can do, as the young man lies dying on the road. He had sworn to carry out his mission as a Green Rider - one of the legendary messengers of the king - and he has a life or death message that must reach King Zachary. Karigan may be unable to save him, but she can deliver his message. He makes her swear to it, to keep it secret and, with his last breath, he warns her to 'beware the shadow man ...'
Pursued by an unknown assassin, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, Karigan is going to become a legendary Green Rider herself. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, her simple promise to deliver a letter is about to become a race against time ... and a race for her life ...
Britain's first novel is a classic quest tale set in a standardized medieval fantasy world. It begins when protagonist Karigan G'ladheon is expelled from an exclusive school. In a forest on the way home, she encounters one of the magically bound Green Riders, who carries a vital message for King Zachary. The messenger is dying with assassins' arrows in his back, so with more loyalty than caution, Karigan takes over his magic brooch. This also means taking over his mission and becoming a Green Rider herself, an act that flings Karigan into a cesspool of intrigues both magical and mundane, some of them well-handled by the author, some not. Karigan is an engaging protagonist, although the feisty female is now a penny a cartload in high fantasy, and some of the scenes of magic and/or combat rise to a high standard. Britain also makes notable use of class distinctions as motivators, a tact not often seen in fantasy. But, overall, her plot lacks originality; most of her characters (other than Karigan) are, at best, archetypes; and her pacing may be sufficiently uneven to deter readers from coping with the book's standard plot and considerable length. This is a respectable, not outstanding, debut, although Britain shows enough talent to warrant a follow-up. FYI: In its 25 years, DAW has published only one previous first novel in hardcover: Tad Williams's Tailchaser's Song.