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A Sword Named Truth: Rise of the Alliance #1    by Sherwood Smith order for
Sword Named Truth
by Sherwood Smith
Order:  USA  Can
Daw, 2019 (2019)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Sherwood Smith's Inda series is one of my favorite fantasy epics ever. A Sword Named Truth is a YA fantasy, first in the Rise of the Alliance trilogy, set in the same world. Though I love anything Sherwood Smith writes, I found it difficult to get into, having missed previous books (like Fleeing Peace) that introduced many of the characters.

This story is essentially about young rulers and mages seeking to make their own alliances and to choose their own paths through peril, despite the advice and restrictions of controlling elders. All this happens in the context of a rising threat from the sinister kingdom of Norsunder, 'the ancient, evil enemy'. Yet sometimes it's a challenge for these young folk - and the reader - to distinguish who really are the bad guys in this epic.

In Inda's Marloven Hess, young mage Senrid deposed the brutal uncle who tried to kill him. Now, can he convince rebellious jarls and paranoid academy students that he plans to rule differently? Young Queen Atan's country was freed from a Norsundrian enchantment that froze it in time for a century. There is much to be done, and her advisers tell her exactly how to spend her time.

Insecure shopkeeper's daughter Liere, 'The Girl Who Saved the World', distrusts her own abilities, but just might have to do it all over again. Mearsiean Clair and CJ lead a diverse group of young people, incredibly loyal to each other. Mage's apprentice Hibern has Senrid's back and acts as a liaison between the different groups ... and there are many others with roles to play.

It all starts with an invasion that leaves the dark Chwahir throne empty. Young Jilo, helped by Senrid, slowly and painfully dismantles the traps in the palace's magic chambers, and the spell that drains the lives of all in the vicinity. Further Norsundrian invasions follow and there are countless deaths, as the young allies scramble to find a solution. Can they save their world and each other?

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