I have a confession to make. I'm a gutter dweller in the Australian speculative fiction writer's ghetto, and I'd never read a Fiona McIntosh book.
This was remedied by reading Odalisque, book one of the Percheron trilogy.
The opening chapter didn't impress me at all, showing a slave taking out the best soldiers in the realm with nary a scratch. However this cliche so treasured by new writers soon moved into a rich world of culture, intrigue and brutality. A teenage boy becomes king (Zar) of Percheron and must deal with attempts to manipulate him. Those around him become pawns in this complex game, and the innocent suffer in terrible ways as the greater good is pursued. In the background a greater conflict of deities and avatars begins to build.
Odalisque, like many modern fantasies, raises a lot of questions and then ends with most of them unresolved. The obvious buy-the-next-book ploy left me feeling dissatisfied, but the quality of the prose, characterisation and plot are top notch. A fine start to a great looking trilogy.
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