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The House of the Four Winds: One Dozen Daughters    by Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory order for
House of the Four Winds
by Mercedes Lackey
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The House of the Four Winds opens a new fantasy series, about 'One Dozen Daughters' by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. The realm of Swansgaarde has been blessed by a dozen princesses and finally one prince. Given that it's a small state, the Duke simply can't afford a dozen royal weddings and dowries. So it has been agreed that when each princess comes of age, she must leave the duchy and seek her fortune.

The first to do so is Clarice, who has become a skilled swordswoman. When she turns eighteen, she leave Swansgaarde to seek adventure, with a special gift from her parents - a bespelled golden brooch, with which she will always be able to find her way back home. She journeys, disguised as a man, Clarence Swann, to Albion where the ships on the dock fascinate her. So she sets sail on one of them, the Asesino, for the New World. She is not impressed by Captain Sprunt, but is immediately attracted to his young navigator, Dominick Moryet.

What follows is a cross between Mutiny on the Bounty and Captain Blood, with magic in the mix. After a fully justified mutiny, Sprunt's magical amulet is found. It gives the mutineers access to a pirate island dominated by the House of the Four Winds and its sorceress ruler, Shamal. She sets a spell on Dominick, which enforces his obedience, and demands that he take the Asesino in search of the Heart of Light. She sails on board herself.

Now the mutineers have jumped from the frying pan into a fire. Readers wonder can the spell on Dominick be broken; how will he react when he learns that Clarence is really Clarice; and is there any way for them to escape the trap this enchantress has set for them? Of course, you'll have to read the book to find out. But Princess Clarice has an exciting coming of age that demands all her wits, skill with a sword, courage and determination to survive.

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