The Gratitute of Kings
new Lythande story:
When the magician Lythande accepted the invitation to Lord Tashgan's wedding,
it was not without reservations. After all, a woman masquerading as a
man-even for the sake of her magic-couldn't be too careful; unfortunate
things sometimes happened in the company of kings.
art by Pat Morrissey. Border art and 4 black-and-white interios illustrations
by Keith Minnion.
more stories about Lythande, I have heard that MZB wrote several Lythande
stories for her Fantasy Magazine. I have not been able to find out which
review by Margo MacDonald (The
SF Site Featured Review)
charming little volume offers up a story of magic and salamanders. It
is a fairy tale without the strong moral meaning but with all the other
necessary elements -- a royal wedding, a beautiful princess, magicians,
an old woman with ill intentions, magical creatures and secrets.
Lythande, a lute-playing magician, is invited to the long-overdue wedding
of an old friend, Prince Tashgan. But Lythande discovers more than just
a few things amiss at the happy affair -- including the scent of hidden
magics about the mysterious Queen-to-be, Princess Velvet, and traces of
a powerful shape-shifter in the royal court. As the wedding day rapidly
approaches, the magician begins a delicate and dangerous investigation
-- one made all the more difficult by Lythande's own precious secret:
to protect the source of her magical abilities, she has spent centuries
masquerading as a man.
The tale is deftly told, though somewhat stilted in a few places. It reads
as if it is but one story out of the life and adventures of the magician
Lythande, the main character. Tidbits of details without complete explanations
give the characters a bit more depth and indicate a past history which
makes this short work feel like a chapter out of a much longer work. Yet
the story also somehow feels complete.
The main characters are engaging (though I had to keep from rolling my
eyes at the Princess Velvet's name). The plot, though by nature somewhat
predictable, maintains the reader's interest by its sense of humour and
through the use of clever details, like the salamanders madly rushing
about scaring people.
Overall, it was a quick and enjoyable journey. I wouldn't be at all surprised
or disappointed to see these characters reappear soon as part of a full-length
Copyright © 1998 by Margo MacDonald
a year very long ago, a mysterious, lute-playing magician named Lythande
is summoned to the wedding of an old friend, Prince Tashgan, at the castle
of Tschardain. To the world, Lythande appears to be a powerful young wizard.
In truth, she is a centuries-old magician masquerading as a man in order
to hold on to her special powers. If anyone were to discover her true
identity, all would be lost.
from the moment she sees the handsome prince again -- and meets Princess
Velvet of Valentia, his promised bride -- Lythande knows something is
terribly wrong. And when Tashgan asks Lythande to be his champion at the
marriage games, a warning of danger sounds deep in her soul. Soon Lythande
is entangled in the intrigues of court, where shape-shifting creatures
and black treachery challenge her own special powers.
the magician Lythande accepted the invitation to Lord Tashgan's wedding,
was not without reservations. After all, a woman masquerading as a man
- even for the sake of her magic - couldn't be too careful; unfortunate
things happened in the company of kings.
himself was a benevolent lord, and his fiance, Lady Velvet, seemed shy
and kind. But Lythande had a prickly sense that something wasn't right.
A sense that grew stronget when Mirwen, Velvet's lady-in-waiting - a spell-caster
with an unreasonable hatred of male magicians - took an instant dislike
to the likable Lythande. But when she and her friend, Eirthe Candlemaker,
a worker of modest magic herself, discovered that Velvet had been bespelled
to make her more beautiful, they knew Mirwen was definately up to something.
that something was they would not find out at the Marriage Games, a contest
of two champions who vie to create the most fantastic and beautiful illusions.
on cover for larger version)
Last Revised: April 2000.