Empire’s Daughter by Marian Thorpe

My monthly newsletter book reviews can be found on my What I’m Reading page. But as I read more than one book a month, I leave other reviews here on my blog. They also get posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Here’s my review of Empire’s Daughter

Well written, pacy and full of interesting characters, Empire’s Daughter won’t disappoint.

The world of Empire’s Daughter

Marian Thorpe admits that the world of Empire’s Daughter is drawn from bits of our own – most made up worlds are – but the society she has created to live in that world is far from anything we know. A fascinating concept, where the women are not just the mothers, the cooks, the healers but also the blacksmiths, the fishermen and the farmers – in fact everything with one exception: they cannot be soldiers. That’s what the men are – all of them, trained away from home from the age of 7 (this broke my heart a little, I have to say!). It works, it’s accepted, and twice a year the two halves of this society ‘meet’ at Festival to ensure the next generation.

Then a man, Casyn, arrives at Lena’s village with startling news. Neighbouring Leste is about to invade the Empire, and the women are asked to defend their homes while the army in turn invades Leste while its own army is busy with the Empire. The women react in different ways, as expected. Lena is excited by the idea, but her partner Maya loathes it as being a departure from tradition. Besides, there is no way she could kill another person. In refusing to agree to the Council’s ruling that the village will learn to fight, Maya is sent into exile.

My view

The story is not so much about the war and fighting (although Thorpe has obviously done an enormous amount of research into many areas, including knife fighting, to give credibility to her tale) as it is about Lena’s personal journey following the heartache of the separation. Lena learns to put community above self (an innovative idea these days), she works at being the best in the leadership role she is given and she takes responsibility for her own actions. Along the way, her world expands, against a background of changing times as the old traditions are now seen as being able to be challenged. Well written, pacy and full of interesting characters, Empire’s Daughter won’t disappoint.

UPDATE: Check out more in this series on Marian’s author page here. I also highly recommend her standalone, Empress and Soldier, set in the same world.

Find Empire’s Daughter here

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