Select one of the keywords
The Firebird's Vengeance: A Novel of Isavalta    by Sarah Zettel order for
Firebird's Vengeance
by Sarah Zettel
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2004 (2004)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is the third in an excellent trilogy that started, in the middle, with A Sorcerer's Treason. This took young lighthouse-keeper Bridget Lederle into a parallel world, where strange Powers intervened in events, and where Bridget gradually discovered talents and a heritage that she never suspected. Next came a prequel, The Usurper's Crown, that revealed how betrayals turned passionate, young sorceress/princess Medeoan into the manipulative, embittered Dowager Empress of the first book. Now, comes the third in time sequence, The Firebird's Vengeance.

In it, we see Medeoan's ghost merge with Bridget Lederle's estranged, fortune-telling aunt Grace in Bridget's old Sand Island lighthouse home. Both are driven to make amends for past mistakes. We see Bridget in Isavalta, where she's won a position at court, but holds back from a commitment to the Hastinapura sorceror, Sakra, whom she loves. Bridget receives a warning from the Vixen (the powerful sly red fox who repeatedly steals the show in this series) that the gods have given the released Firebird permission for vengeance. The Vixen also hints that Anna, the daughter believed long dead by Bridget, might somehow live.

Next we meet Anna as Tsan Nu, hostage for her father, Tuukosov sorceror Valin Kalami, in the Heart of the World. Though Tsan Nu predicts the Firebird's coming, she's not believed, and it's only her bodyguard Lieutenant Mae Shan Jinn's actions that save the child from the resulting devastation. Mae Shan is prominent in this episode as she seeks Tsan Nu, after the child is influenced by her dead father's ghost to travel to the Holy Island of Tuukos. Bridget and Sakra travel back to Earth, where they meet Grace and the spirit that she carries, before returning to Isavalta, in search of Anna.

And, in the background, hidden Powers weave their own plots, with their own mysterious agendas, in particular the Vixen, Baba Yaga and the Firebird. All the actors converge in a final confrontation, in which Anna must choose between the father she loves but is only beginning to know, and the mother whose existence has been hidden from her. The Firebird's Vengeance is a thrilling fantasy, that lays ghosts to rest, and provides a fitting resolution to many stories in this wonderful series. But I hope this is not the end of tales of Isavalta.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Fantasy books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews