Veralidaine Sarrasri--Daine to everyone who knows her--is thirteen years old, orphaned, and without a home. Her amazing rapport with animals gets her a job with a horsemaster named Onua, and the two women become fast companions during their arduous journey from Daine's homeland of Galla to the kingdom of Tortall, where they are to deliver their equine charges to the service of the Queen's Riders.
Along the way, Daine's gift for communicating with animals becomes more and more apparent, and when she alerts Onua to the approach of dangerous Immortals known as Stormwings, who feed off of fear and death, her talent can no longer be ignored. It is revealed that, while she does not have the magical Gift required to become a sorcerer, she does have a rarer form known as wild magic that connects her to the animals around her.
Under the auspices of one of the most powerful mages in the country, Daine begins to strengthen her natural affinity, but she's haunted by a past she won't share with anyone, and a secret fear that if she uses too much of her power to communicate with animals, even for the good of those around her, she might find herself losing her own humanity.
In the eyes of the Tortallan nobles, her training is of great importance in the ongoing effort to protect the kingdom against the vicious Immortals who have begun appearing out of nowhere in the last few years.
Pierce has once again delivered a plucky heroine that girls young and old can ally with. Daine's no-nonsense attitude, coupled with her naïve fascination for the way in which business is conducted in Tortall, make her a completely likable character. For an experienced author, returning to an old fictional world and attempting to see it through new eyes can be difficult, but it also has manifold pleasures for both the writer and the reader.
In this first book of THE IMMORTALS QUARTET, Tamora Pierce returns to the world her LIONESS QUARTET first popularized, and fans of Alanna, Tortall's first female knight, will be pleased to see their favorite lady heroine appear in print once more, but this time as a secondary character to another young girl with the potential to become a strong woman in her own right.show more