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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Soprano Sorceress by L.E. Modesitt

Anna Marshall was a not quite big-time opera singer in Ames, Iowa. She taught music and generally led a frustrated life. That is until she is transported from Earth to Erde, another world with a medieval, male-dominated setting that is full of magic and spells. Erde is a place where vocal music is magic.

As Anna comes to terms with her situation, she realizes that she has a great power in her voice. She finds that she is able to cool and clean her drinking water; influence other people, i.e. keeping men off of her that plan to rape or kill her; turn people to fire and ash; and even move the very ground of Erde to bury an enemy.

There is an evil movement going on. The Dark Ones in Ebra are mobilizing forces to attack Defalk and then the entire continent of Liedwahr after that. They have already altered the weather to dry out many areas of Liedwahr. As Anna finds out about this, it becomes clear to her that she must do what she can to repel and defeat this enemy…which almost boggles her mind, for just weeks before, she was on Earth struggling to make her way through the politicking of the musician’s world. Anna must seek out those in power who will not try to kill her due to her gender and her power, and gather enough knowledge of this strange world so that she can defeat the evil ones.

This is a pretty entertaining concept for a novel series. It takes a good story to pull it off, though. I was somewhat skeptical at first because of the musician/sorceress concept, but the author uses a well-seasoned woman character to try to bring a new social structure to a backward world and keep from using her newfound talents in every situation. She finds out, as most fantasy authors write about magic, that using magic has its price.

I had several laughs at some things that the author included in this fantasy book. He mentions KFC, an El Reno motel (that’s in Oklahoma), “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson and even has rearranged the lyrics to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in order to defeat an enemy. Great stuff!!

The Soprano Sorceress is the first book in The Spellsong Cycle series by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. There are currently five books in the series.