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Reviewed by Colleen Turner

In a land known as the Veiled Isles, the eternal energy called the Source is beginning to reverse. With the last reversal mankind was able to inhabit the Veiled Isles and banish the previous Inhabitants, a race of sentient, bodiless creatures that operated as one Overmind to control all manner of living things in their path, to the area known as the Wraithlands.

Since then man has created its civilization and many have forgotten the power of the Source and what came before. But now the signs that the Source is once again reversing, allowing the very laws of nature and arcane magic to change and the great Overmind to once again assert its power, are beginning to show. The only way to halt this change is to cleanse the Source and keep it on its current path. This can only be done with the combined assistance of the arcane powers held within the six great houses: Belandor, Corvestri, Steffa, Orlazzo, Pridisso and Zovaccio. These houses have been at war or been slowly dissipating for years, but they will have to find a way to come together or they, and all of mankind, are doomed.

In the city of Vitrisi, the wealthy Magnifico Aureste Belandor is saddened but resigned to marry his beloved daughter, Jianna, to a prominent family far from the city of her birth and the hatred that he has kept her sheltered from. Jianna idolizes her father and has no idea he has long been considered a traitor to his Faerlonish brethren and has spent his life conniving and bribing his way into favor with the current administration.

On the ride to her wedding, Jianna’s carriage is attacked and all her attendants viciously murdered before her eyes. Her captors soon show themselves to be a branch of the Belandor family that Aureste brought to ruin, allowing himself to become the Magnifico of the family after his predecessor, Onarto Belandor, was killed in exile. Onarto’s widow, Yvenza Belandor, has hatched a plan to marry Jianna to her brutish son, Onartino, hoping to once again establish her lineage as the head of the house.

As Jianna waits for her father’s rescue she soon discovers she will need to use her own resources and intellect to try and save herself. At the edge of despair help comes from a Dr. Falaste Rione, a man who has lived his life loyal to Yvenza but cannot justify the pain she seems set to lavish on Jianna.

While Jianna lies in the clutches of Yvenza and her vicious clan, Aureste sets out to indeed try and rescue his daughter. As he uses his brother Innesq’s arcane powers to locate her, he also sets about to destroy one of his enemies, Magnifico Vinz Corvestri , the man who married the only other woman Aureste ever loved, Sonnetia Steffa. But before Vinz is arrested, he uses his own arcane magic to assist the Faerlonish resistance in an attempt to murder Aureste and burn down Belandor House, injuring Innesq in the process. By the time the smoke clears, Jianna and Dr. Rione are in hiding with the resistance, both Yvenza and Aureste’s homes are in ruin, Vinz has been arrested and Innesq lies on the brink of death. Will they all survive and, if so, how will they ever begin to work together to save the world as they know it?

The Traitor’s Daughter is the first in an epic trilogy that promises to be exciting. Not usually a fan of fantasy stories, I was thrown off at first by the talk of magic; as the story progressed I became enamored with Paula Brandon’s writing. It reads like a classic historical fiction novel that stretches its boundaries to include the mystical. The twists and turns keep you turning the pages and while there are a lot of plot points and characters to absorb, it isn’t hard to become thoroughly invested in the story. The ending is left at the tip of a cliff hanger and I cannot wait to read the second book in the series, The Ruined City, which comes out in February 2012.

Rating: 4.5/5

Colleen lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, son and pet fish. When not working or taking care of her family she has her nose stuck in a book (and, let’s face it, often when she is working or taking care of her family as well). Nothing excites her more than discovering a new author to obsess over or a hidden jewel of a book to worship.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Spectra. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.