Today I have a guest post from Rowena Cory Daniells, author of many excellent fantasy books such as the King Rolen's Kin series and The Outcast Chronicles. Most recently, her first trilogy has been re-released as an omnibus edition: The Fall of Fair Isle. I haven't had a chance to review it yet (soon, soon) but you can browse my reviews of Rowena's other books here.
It’s the protagonist’s choices that make it interesting
At least it is for me. I like character driven plots. There’s nothing wrong with a natural disaster or a war to test a character, but I like it when the protagonist has a moral quandary and they are bound by their honour system.
Years ago I came across one of the Poldark books. It was back before the internet, when it was hard to find books and I read number five or six so I didn’t know the set up for the story but I liked the way the characters were limited by the expectations of their position in life and their gender. Now there’s a new Poldark series staring Aiden Turner as Ross Poldark. Here he is with Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza.
And I discovered how the author Winston Graham set up the story. Ross comes back from the American war of Independence only to learn that the woman he loves, believing him dead, has agreed to marry his cousin and his father has died leaving him a rundown mine and a barren farm. With nothing to offer Elizabeth, he must stand aside while she marries his cousin. As for Elizabeth, she must honour her word.
The characters’ moral quandaries and the consequence of their actions keeps you watching.
In The Fall of Fair Isle the characters agonise over moral dilemmas while being bound by their gender, race and culture. This series starts after the great battle and explores the lengths the characters go to, to ensure the peace, or in one case to disrupt the peace. Whatever the other characters may think of them, they believe that they are doing the right thing.
Imoshen, named after her famous ancestor, has surrendered to General Tulkhan the invader. Her goal is to ease the transition of power but Reothe, her once-betrothed has survived the war and needs her help to win back Fair Isle.
While The Fall of Fair Isle does continue the story of the mystical T’En race, it is set six hundred years after The Outcast Chronicles and can be read as a stand-alone trilogy.
Unlike The Outcast Chronicles, The Fall of Fair Isle has a smaller cast of characters and is a more intimate story, delving into the motivations of the main characters. It is a reprint of my original trilogy which was published between 1999 and 2003.
I hope the Fall of Fair Isle sweeps the reader away and keeps them wondering what the characters will do next.