Odalisque by Fiona McIntosh
When I picked up Odalisque, it looked very promising. Fiona McIntosh creates an interesting harem setting (think Ottoman Empire) and some lively characters. Unfortunately, Odalisque doesn't live up to its potential.
The characters are almost totally one-dimensional. All of the good guys are nice and humble while all of the bad guys are cruel and ambitious. Lazar, the main (and most likeable) character, is an amazing warrior, yet throughout the story he sits back, clenches his jaw, and watches all of the bad guys do bad things. He really feels bad about this, but he never stands up for justice. Even the young Zar, a good guy who's theoretically in charge, lets his cruel mother (a concubine) and a couple of servants run the show, brutally killing people who have gotten in their way. Why won't the Zar and Lazar sto... Read More
Fiona McIntosh(1960- )
Fiona McIntosh lives in Australia. She was born in Brighton and between the ages of three and eight, travelled a lot to Africa due to her father’s work. At the age of nineteen she travelled first to Paris and later to Australia, where she has lived ever since. She has worked in public relations, marketing, and the travel industry. Learn more at Fiona McIntosh’s website.
Percheron — (2005-2008) Publisher: Captured by slave traders in the inhospitable desert, Lazar fought his way to freedom, earning the coveted position of Spur of Percheron. Charged with protecting his adopted city from enemies on both sides of its walls, he has led a charmed life as confidant to and protector of Zar Joreb for many years. But now Joreb is dead… Though Joreb’s well-intentioned fifteen-year-old heir, Boaz, will take the title of Zar, the balance of power lies in the hands of his beautiful and cruelly ambitious mother, a former harem slave who rose to power by the Zar’s favor. Aside from Lazar, whom Boaz trusts and respects, the young Zar’s only friend is Pez, the court jester, a misshapen dwarf whose tricks and diversions are accepted only because he is known to be mad. When a stunning young girl is brought to the palace to fill a space in Boaz’s harem, both Boaz and Lazar are surprised by their unexpectedly strong reactions to her. But Ana, the odalisque, finds the closeted world of the harem stifling and unbearable. And unbeknownst to all, the gods themselves are beginning to rise in a cyclical battle that is just beginning, and will enmesh everyone in the palace in a struggle for the very soul of Percheron.
Odalisque by Fiona McIntosh
Valisar — (2008-2010) Publisher: The first installment of a thrilling new epic fantasy trilogy from the rising star of the genre. Led by Loethar, an ambitious and ruthless tyrant, a terrifying army of mercenaries and renegades from the great southern steppes threaten to overwhelm the Kingdom of Penraven, having already overthrown its two neighbouring realms, leaving a trail of devastation and broken lives in their wake. Penraven is Loethar’s most desired prize, not only because of its wealth, safe harbour, extensive coastline, and abundant natural resources. This time the tyrant wants more than a crown. Driven by dreams of empire, fuelled by his increasing obsession with magic, Loethar’s plan to overthrow King Brennus of Penraven, 9th of the Valisars, was cemented the hour upon when he learned that Brennus possessed the power of coercion. All of the Valisar heirs have been blessed down the ages with the sinister ability to bend people entirely to their will and Loethar is convinced that if he consumes these empowered people he will then be imbued with their skills and magics! and be unstoppable.
Royal Exile by Fiona McIntosh
In Royal Exile, Fiona McIntosh returns to the same world of the Percheron Saga. Though the concept is exactly what makes for good epic fantasy, the writer's execution does not bear it out. Wooden dialogue, information dumps, and characters indistinguishable from each other make this novel a sad caricature of its potential.
A tribal barbarian warlord by the name of Loethar is rapidly conquering the Set, a federation of kingdoms with a high medieval culture. The King of Penraven, most powerful of the Set, quickly realizes that he will soon be the last to fall, as each kingdom believed itself capable of stopping Loethar, but with no success. This provides the set-up for the rest of the story, and within a few chapters of its beginning, Loethar has conquered the Set.
But the King of Penraven was canny. He p... Read More
Trinity — (2001-2002) Publisher: Only the Trinity can stop the vengeful god Orlac from destroying the Land. Yet the Trinity itself remains a mystery. Deep in the folklore of Tallinor lies a dark legend of betrayal and destruction: the story of a powerful sentient called Orlac, who once razed the famed city of Caremboche and almost destroyed the entire land. Torkyn Gynt, a young village scribe with untold healing powers, leaves his life and dearest love behind to become apprentice to the Royal Physic, thus taking his first step on the road to his Destiny. Despite his powers and the help of his friends, he finds himself on the brink of destruction. When Orlac returns seeking vengeance and ultimate power, there are few who can stop him. Indeed, with Tor’s allies in disarray, the outcome of any battle with Orlac is unknown and everyone is fearful of the future.
The Quickening — (2003-2004) Publisher: For the sake of an imperiled kingdom, the line between “traitor” and “savior” must blur.. . and vanish. Though barely a teenager, Wyl Thirsk must now assume the role he has been destined for since birth: commander of the Morgravian army — an awesome responsibility that calls him to the royal palace of the crown prince Celimus. Already a cruel despot who delights in the suffering of others, Celimus enjoys forcing his new general to witness his depraved “entertainments.” But a kindness to a condemned witch in her final, agonizing hours earns young Thirsk a miraculous bequest, while inflaming the wrath of his liege lord. With war looming in the north, Wyl must obey Celimus’s treacherous dictates and undertake a suicidal journey to an enemy court — armed with a mysterious power that could prove both boon and curse. For unless he accepts Myrren’s gift, it will surely destroy him… and the land he must defend.
The Scrivener’s Tale — (2013) Publisher: Fiona McIntosh returns to Paris and Morgravia, her popular fantasy world, with The Scrivener’s Tale, a thrilling psychological novel. Ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret was done with patients for good, until he meets Angelina, a young mute woman he’s been asked to mentor. When she starts speaking about another realm called Morgravia, he doubts her, but soon comes under the spell of her compelling visions. As Gabe delves deeper into Angelina’s unsettled psyche, he learns more about his own soul, his past, and whom he can trust in his own troubled life. Splendidly characterized and beautifully crafted, Fiona McIntosh’s The Scrivener’s Tale is an action-packed fantasy adventure that will leave you spellbound.