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Deception's Princess: Princesses of Myth    by Esther Friesner order for
Deception's Princess
by Esther Friesner
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2014 (2014)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Esther Friesner, a well known fantasy author, mines mythology in her Princesses of Myth series - she's taken fans to Greece, Egypt and Japan in previous books, all featuring strong heroines who take their destiny in their own hands. Now she takes us to first-century Ireland in Deception's Princess.

Maeve, princess of Connacht, should have been a boy (at least so her father believes). She certainly has the courage required for a son's role in life. Maeve, the youngest of six daughters of Connacht, adores her father, but slowly realizes that she is much more of a pawn to him than an equal.

When her father becomes High King of Ireland and all her sisters are married off to form useful alliances, Maeve is constantly circled by suitors seeking power. She fends them all off but tactfully - she knows that a false step will cause her father trouble. She's only happy when off ranging the countryside on her own, to her mother's disapproval. She makes one friend, who dies.

Then Iobar, a powerful druid, arrives with his son Odran. Odran takes in injured animals and has a talent for their care, but his father has other plans for him. Over time, Odran and Maeve become close and she helps him with the animals. She becomes very attached to a kestrel Odran names Ea. Maeve envies Ea's freedom to soar.

There are misunderstandings, when Maeve acts to protect her father's interests, and violence. Odran and Maeve are separated, her reputation is sullied, and her importance to her father reduced after sons are born. But when someone she cares for is threatened, Maeve acts with courage and spirit to save him. And she makes a choice to move her life forward.

I enjoy this series very much, for its depiction of strong heroines in intriguing historical settings. And we haven't seen the last of Maeve. As in the previous scenarios, her adventures continue in a further episode, Deception's Prize.

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