Friday, August 12, 2016

Court of Fives

Jes is the mixed race daughter of a powerful Patron general and a beautiful Efean mother.  Because marriages between Efeans and Patrons are illegal, she and her sisters are technically illegitimate. Because of their precarious social position, they must be cautious in observance of law and social customs.

When the wealthy general who sponsors her father dies in disgrace, her life is thrown into disarray.  Lord Gargaron, another wealthy noble, is on a quest for ultimate power, and he needs Jes's father to accomplish his goals.  Gargaron forces the general to abandon his wife and children and join his household.

But Jes has a secret, and somehow Lord Gargaron knows it.  She has been secretly training to run the Fives, a challenging obstacle course where agility and prowess win fame.  Instead of sending Jes away with her sisters, he wants her in his stable where she can train in the open.  She knows this cruel and powerful man must have an agenda, but she is also thrilled that her dream is coming true.

Could Gargaron's ulterior motive be related to his nephew Kalliarkos?  Kal also wants to run the Fives, but his royal family want him to join the military.  Jes and Kal quickly become friends and allies.  Jes helps Kal see that he is not as down to earth as he thought, and she admires his loyalty and dedication.  As she realizes the true horror of Gargaron's plans for her mother and sisters, Kal is the only one she can turn to for help.

Kate Elliott's series opener is packed with action, political intrigue, the camaraderie of athletes, and budding romance. It also harkens back to ancient Greece and Egypt which is an added bonus.  Recommended for fantasy fans who like their books with rich world building and political machinations.  Grades 8 and up.

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