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A Sorcerer's Treason (Isavalta Series #1)

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A World of Magic and Peril

1899, Sand Island, Wisconsin: Bridget Lederle is a lighthouse keeper on this stormy, windswept shore of Lake Superior. One cold night she sees a boat foundering near the island's shoals, and rescues its lone occupant. The strangely dressed sailor tells her a fantastic tale, of Isavalta, a world where magic reigns, and where she is-incredibly-destined to play a key role in a power struggle between the Dowager Empress ...

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Overview

A World of Magic and Peril

1899, Sand Island, Wisconsin: Bridget Lederle is a lighthouse keeper on this stormy, windswept shore of Lake Superior. One cold night she sees a boat foundering near the island's shoals, and rescues its lone occupant. The strangely dressed sailor tells her a fantastic tale, of Isavalta, a world where magic reigns, and where she is-incredibly-destined to play a key role in a power struggle between the Dowager Empress and her foes.

Isavalta, where magic can be found in the pattern of knots on a string, the colors of a dress, or even smoke in the air, beckons to her. Bridget has the second sight of her family, but the magical land where she will go with the sailor holds far greater marvels, and terrible perils that even she cannot see. For she carries secrets within her that even she doesn't know, secrets that could change the fate of the fabulous magical world that calls her home . . .

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Sarah Zettel, renowned for science fiction novels like Reclamation (which won the Locus Award for Best First Novel), Playing God, and The Quiet Invasion, tries her hand at fantasy with A Sorcerer's Treason.

The story begins when a lonely Wisconsin lighthouse keeper named Bridget Lederle rescues a strangely dressed man who has been shipwrecked on the shores of Lake Superior. The man, named Valin Kalami, claims to be a sorcerer from a magical realm called Isavalta and tells Bridget that she is destined to play a part in saving the parallel world and its people from destruction. After the enigmatic Valin tells her things about herself that no one else could possibly know, she agrees to accompany the sorcerer across the Land of Death and Spirit to Isavalta. Once there, she begins to learn much about the dangerous power struggle within the magic saturated realm -- and much more about herself.

Fans of Zettel's science fiction novels should be pleasantly surprised with her excursion into the fantasy genre, which draws heavily on Chinese, Indian, and Russian folklore. She continues the story of Bridget in The Usurper's Crown and will complete her Isavalta trilogy with The Firebird's Vengeance, scheduled for release in 2004. Paul Goat Allen

From the Publisher
"A Sorcerer's Treason is a gem of a book, artfully blending the windswept magic of late nineteenth century Lake Superior with that of the mystical realm of Isavalta."—Elizabeth Haydon

"A sumptuous tale of subtle magic, malevolent sorcery and twisted loyalties where nothing is at it first."—Sara Douglass

Publishers Weekly
Alternating between her lighthouse-keeper heroine's native Wisconsin and the magic-ridden world of Isavalta, SF author Zettel's (Playing God) first fantasy novel, despite a plodding plot, should please readers eager to leave this dull world of ours behind. In the year 1899, during a gale on Lake Superior, Bridget Lederle rescues a lone sailor, Valin Kalami, who proves to be a visitor from an ethereal realm called Isavalta, the home of Bridget's birth-father, who impregnated her mother during a brief stay on Earth. Her Isavaltan blood explains Bridget's sporadic ability to see both the past and future. Kalami persuades Bridget to travel to his dazzling world, where he is Lord Sorcerer to the Dowager Empress, Medeoan Edemskoidoch Nacheradavosh (a name typical of the book's tongue-twisting nomenclature derived from Russian and various Asian languages), who refuses to hand over rule of her kingdom to her mysteriously ailing son, the Emperor Mikkel, and his new bride, Empress Ananda. Intrigues abound, magic lies hidden within threads, a fox becomes a powerful "Vixen" and the dowager keeps a caged phoenix capable of engulfing the world in flames. Since the old woman simply won't relinquish power, Bridget must fight both her and her traitorous sorcerer. Villains may menacingly twist figurative moustaches, but none seriously threatens the courageous heroine's virtue. This sweet-tempered melodrama will appeal mainly to younger female fantasy fans, who will be sure to welcome the forthcoming sequel. (Apr. 24) Forecast: Zettel's established reputation (1997's Fool's War was runner-up for the Philip K. Dick Award for Best Paperback Original SF Novel), blurbs from such fantasy stars as Sara Douglass, Andre Norton and Elizabeth Haydon, plus national advertising and regional author appearances, will ensure a strong start. Support from romance fans may help keep up the momentum. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
On a dark and stormy night in 1899, Bridget Lederle, Keeper of the Lighthouse on Sand Island in Lake Superior, pulls an oddly dressed man from the wreckage of his boat. He turns out to be Valin Kalami, lord sorcerer to her Grand Majesty, the Dowager Empress of Isavalta. He tells Bridget that he has come to take her back to Isavalta, where her powers are needed to save the country from the machinations of the Dowager's new daughter-in-law, Ananda. Bridget, who has borne and lost an illegitimate baby, is the subject of gossip and scorn by the local people. Lonely and grieving the death of her parents, she decides she has nothing to lose and sets sail with Kalami through the land of Death and Spirits to his strange snowbound world. As her own magical powers begin to unfold, Bridget finds the royal court to be a seething tangle of intrigues, schemes, and double-dealing. Bridget must discover whom she can trust and who she really is. Zettel, winner of science fiction's Locus Award for Reclamation (Warner, 1996/VOYA December 1996), turns her hand to fantasy in this first book of a projected trilogy. Rich descriptions; well-integrated elements of Russian, Chinese, and Indian mythologies; plots within plots; conniving villains; spunky heroines; and even a hint of romance to come will easily convince fantasy lovers that Zettel is at home in this new genre. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2002, Tor, 528p,
— Lynn Rutan
KLIATT
Bridget Lederle, a single unwed mother in 1899 Wisconsin (an unenviable position even though her baby girl died shortly after birth), has taken over the keeping of the lighthouse at Sand Island from her deceased father. Bridget has always had meaningful dreams but when the sailor she rescues from a small, strangely painted foundering boat tells her she will play a key role in the power struggle in the mystical realm of Isavalta, she is stunned. With nothing to keep her at Sand Island, she accompanies him to Isavalta and immediately becomes embroiled in myriad intrigues in the Dowager Empress' court. She grabs the attention of many outside, more insidious characters, like the Vixen, the firebird, and even denizens of the Land of Death and Spirit. She also begins to test her own magical powers and abilities that are prodigious. The ending (or non-ending) sets up the sequel in which Bridget must return to Isavalta if she wants to control her own destiny. An unusual combination of cultures: Lake Superior and a pseudo Russian-Chinese folkloric realm. The separate yet intertwined strands of the plot sometimes get confusing, but all do come together at the end. This will be best for mature fantasy fans looking for something a tad different. KLIATT Codes: SA-Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Tor, 499p., Ages 15 to adult.
— Sherry Hoy
Library Journal
Bridget Lederle rescues a strange man from the waters of Lake Superior and accompanies him to another world, a strange land of rival sorceries where a dowager empress strives to protect her world from the cunning grasp of the sorceress Ananda. The author of Playing God and Kingdom of Cages begins a fantasy series set in a world of politics, magic, and intrigue. Drawn from Russian, Chinese, and Indian mythologies, the land of Isavalta offers a unique and exotic atmosphere. Strong characters and superb storytelling make this a solid addition to most fantasy collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Densely plotted beginning of a trilogy blending romance and female empowerment in an unevenly realized world where magic is a tie that binds and reality is just about anything Zettel (Kingdom of Cages, 2001, etc.) wants it to be. It's 1899, and Bridget Lederle, the keeper of a lighthouse on the Wisconsin shore of Lake Superior, is used to rescuing boats and the men who happen to wash up on the rocks. This time, the boat is vaguely familiar, and the strangely costumed man she drags ashore summons odd visions in Bridget's mind of a place called Isavalta, a fairy-tale realm loosely based on pre-Peter the Great Russia. That Bridget is an ostracized mother of a child born out of wedlock makes it easier to accompany the man, a sorceror named Valin Kalami, to Isavalta, where Dowager Empress Medeoan hopes that Bridget will break the spell that makes the Empress's son, Mikkel, act like he's been fed too many tranquilizers. Among the excessive complications awaiting Bridget is Ananda, a princess from Hastinapura, a Mogul-period India. Ananda has been betrothed to Mikkel as part of a political arrangement that will unite the two nations against the Empire of Hung-Tse. Though Ananda loves Mikkel, she hasn't broken the spell-and maybe the Dowager doesn't want her to, having banished Ananda's wiley sorceror Sakra, who has entered into a peculiar alliance with crows that can turn into human form. For Zettel, magic is literally entanglement: sorcerors cast spell by weaving threads, wires, ropes, and hair and, as Bridget wondrously discovers, creating patterns in movement and sound. When Sakra exclaims in frustration, "How am I to hold all these threads?," the reader may wish to conjure a scissor.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765343741
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 6/3/2003
  • Series: Isavalta Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Zettel is the author of A Sorcerer's Treason, and has also written five science fiction novels, including Reclamation, winner of the Locus Award for best first SF novel, Fool's War, runner-up for the Philip K. Dick Award for best paperback original SF novel, and the recent Kingdom of Cages. She lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

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Read an Excerpt

A Sorcerer's Treason


By Sarah Zettel

TOR

Copyright © 2002 Sarah Zettel.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 0-312-87441-3


Lighthouse Point, Sand Island, Wisconsin

At midnight between November first and November second of the year 1899, Bridget Lederle's eyes snapped open of their own accord, bringing her instantly awake. For a moment, she lay and listened to the gale outside her window shaking the shutters and rattling the frame in the sash. The faintest breath of the November wind crept through the cracks, brushing past her cheek. The fixed beam from the lighthouse shined steadily, warning anyone unlucky enough to be, out on Lake Superior that they sailed near Sand Island's rocky shore.

There was a boat out there. That warning had not been sufficient for some poor soul. Bridget's inner eye saw it clearly. It was a klinker-built vessel with a single mast. The storm drove it toward the rocky shelf that protruded into the lake under the lighthouse beam. The single sailor aboard struggled helplessly with a sail in tatters and a broken tiller. He seemed to be trying to reach her tiny jetty and boathouse, but he wasn't going to make it.

Bridget saw it all, and her heart pounded hard at the sight.

She did not waste any time on panic or think to question the vision. Her visions had been coming to her ever since she was a child, and she was years past wondering whether they were true. Without hesitation, she swung herself out from under the quilts, planting bare feet against the frigid floorboards.

Outside, the windwhistled under the eaves. Vicious drafts curled around Bridget's ankles as she minced her way across the floor to the clothes pegs.

She had to hurry. There was a boat out there.

As was her custom, she'd left her thickest skirt and sweater hanging on the pegs. Her woolen stockings lay on the dresser. Her oilskin and boots waited downstairs by the front door, along with the covered lantern and kitchen matches.

She moved with assurance, even though the room was lit only by the reflection of the golden beam of the lighthouse lamp. From its tower overhead, it cut through the gale, warning the ships from the rocks and shoals that surrounded the island, and helping to keep sailors safe from Lake Superior and its grasping, grey waters.

But, soon, Lake Superior would throw a small, painted boat up onto the rocks, smashing its hull and swamping its single sailor.

I will save him. Determination pressed Bridget's mouth into a thin line and she threw open the white painted fire door that led to the tower's spiral staircase, the only stairs the house possessed. She ran down to the first floor, each footfall clanging against the filigreed iron steps. The lake does not get anyone tonight.

Bridget did not even take the time to rouse her housekeeper, Mrs. Hansen, or Mrs. Hansen's big son Samuel. She just shrugged into her father's old oilskins and stuffed her feet into cracked Wellington boots.

Wrapped against the weather as well as one could be, Bridget lit her lantern. With the tiny light clutched in one hand, she unlatched the door and stepped out into the gale.

The wind slammed against her as if it meant to lay her flat. It grabbed at her skirts, pulling them tight around her legs. Despite the ferocious wind, the night remained clear, and Bridget could see the light from Devil's Island beaming as brightly as any of the stars overhead. But the wind carried the smell of ice, and Bridget shivered involuntarily against its onslaught. This was not the worst Lake Superior could do, but it was bad enough.

As quickly as she could, Bridget made her way down the steep wooden stairs to the boathouse at the lake's edge. The lake boiled black beneath the night sky and the steady light from the house shined on the steep curl of white-capped waves. Icy spray lashed her from head to toe, blurring her vision and making it hard to breathe. It stung her cheeks with cold and dribbled down her collar, making her skin twitch into goose pimples.

Bridget suppressed another shiver, as if she did not want the lake to see how she feared its moods. She pulled the hood of her thick mens' coat further down and lifted her lantern high. Spray hissed against the tin housing and Bridget strained to separate the shadows from each other.

There. The thin, guttering beam of her lantern touched the painted, battered prow jutting out of the water at the ugly angle where it had been smashed on the edge of the sandstone shelf. The single mast still stood, but the tattered sail flapped wet and useless in the wind.

Bridget planted her boots carefully on slick, uneven stone and made her way forward with a cautious, rocking gait. Waves surged around her ankles, soaking her hems and tugging at each step. All around, the late-autumn wind howled high and sharp, angry at its failure to drive her back indoors. Each wave of the lake roared back its response that it would have her yet.

In front of her, the broken boat swayed, half in, half out of the water. The lake pulled at it, trying to suck the traveler down to where it could swaddle him in its cold. Bridget gripped her drenched skirt in one hand and slogged ahead, until at last she stood grasping the soaking gunwale. A jagged outcropping had impaled the boat. Ropes, casks, nets, all the paraphernalia of a small fishing craft floated in a tangle at the stern.

The man lay facedown in the bilge. Bridget hung the lantern carefully on the end of a splintered spar and heaved the man onto his back. She could see just enough to gain the impression of dark skin, black hair and a black coat. Without hesitation, she pried his mouth open and swept her finger around inside, to make sure he had inhaled nothing but water. Even as she did so, he began to cough. She turned him onto his side, letting him vomit up gouts of fresh water into the bilge. The boat rocked unsteadily with each motion, rattling the flotsam, and it seemed to Bridget that the lake chuckled as it pulled at the broken stern.

The man's chest heaved against her hand, and Bridget shoved him into a sitting position. He gasped, dragging great breaths of air and spray into his tortured lungs.

"Can you stand?" shouted Bridget in his ear to be heard over the wind and the lake. "We must get you insider"

He lifted his head and Bridget saw that his eyes were as dark as the night-blackened lake, but behind them, there was light. That light seeped through her skin even as the cold did, and touched her blood and heart.

She started then, and would have let him go had he not clamped one death-cold hand on her wrist. He strained to lift himself out of the sloshing, rattling stew that filled his ruined boat. Bridget got her arm under his shoulders and helped him balance on the wreckage. It was then she realized he did not wear normal fisherman's clothes. His coat was a heavy, woolen thing with many buttons and a high collar. The lantern light glinted on a metal clasp at the throat.

Bridget shoved this oddity aside. The lake threw all kinds onto shore. What was important right now was to get this man into the warmth.

She reclaimed the lantern and they forced their way back through the relentless waves to the boathouse and dry land, with Bridget at times half-dragging the stranger. But she was no petite miss, and he was determined. He always found his footing again, no matter how badly he slipped. At last, they came to the foot of the boathouse stairs and he staggered, catching himself against the railing, just in time to keep Bridget from completely dropping him. His wide black eyes traced the length of the stairs, and Bridget thought for a moment he was going to tell her he could not make it. But then, he caught sight of the lighthouse beam. He gazed up at the light, and then at her, and he smiled a smile so sweet that Bridget felt her throat tighten.

From somewhere, he found the strength to help haul himself up the stairs and to stand on his own as Bridget opened the door to the summer kitchen. They staggered inside together. Buckets' worth of water sluiced off them both, making rivers and lakes on the flagstones.

As soon as the man crossed the threshold, he sank to his knees in the middle of the frigid water. He would have fallen onto his face, had Bridget not dropped to her own knees and grasped his shoulders. He smelled of lake water, cold and wet wool. There was nowhere about him the trace of any human warmth.

"Mrs. Hansen!" Bridget called. "Mrs. Hansen! Samuel!"

The Norwegian widow and her son were used to being roused at all hours by Bridget's shout, and both appeared within moments—Mrs. Hansen wrapping her shawl around her nightdress, and Samuel just standing there like a great bullock with his nightshirt over his red flannels.

"Get him to the spare bedroom, Samuel," Bridget ordered as she shucked her coat and boots. "Mrs. Hansen ..."

"Hot-water bottles," finished Mrs. Hansen. "I'll get the stove going." Mrs. Hansen knew what was needed as well as Bridget did, having kept the house for Bridget's father as well as for Bridget. She gathered up the hem of her nightdress and hurried up the three steps into the winter kitchen, where a fire waited banked in the stove. Samuel lumbered forward and, without so much as a grunt of effort, lifted the stranger in both arms to carry him up the stairs to the small bedroom that waited down the short hallway from Bridget's own.

Bridget followed him, stopping at the closet for an armload of quilts. They were all old, patched and water-stained, but, nonetheless, warm enough. She also pocketed a cup and the square bottle of strong brandy that she kept there.

When Bridget reached the spare room, Samuel had the stranger laid out on the metal-framed bed and had already stripped off his boots and stockings. The strange, wide-skirted coat hung on one of the clothes pegs, dripping its allotment of Lake Superior onto the floorboards. Bridget deposited the quilts at the foot of the bed and the brandy on the dresser beside the wash jug and basin. The gale still rattled the window and the shutters, but it was losing force. It seemed to consider that it had already done enough for one night and all that remained was to remind Bridget that it would be back, and next time it would bring the snow.

Bridget lit the hurricane lantern as Samuel fumbled to remove the man's trousers. She moved to help him without a blush or second thought. After eight years of pulling sailors out of Lake Superior, the sight of a naked man held no terror for her.

She at once saw the source of Samuel's difficulty. The man wore a worked leather belt. Samuel's big fingers struggled with its ornate buckle, which seemed to be woven of bands of pure gold. Bridget's smaller hands found the trick of it and snapped the buckle open. She laid the belt and its ornament on the sill, where the stranger would be sure to see it when he woke.

The pants were not the canvas trousers she expected. They were leather pantaloons of some kind, with laces where she would have expected buttons. Underneath them he wore woolen hose, with linen hose underneath those. He also wore a woolen tunic over a linen shirt with tails almost as long as Samuel's nightshirt. They stripped him of those too. His well-muscled chest was an expanse of rich tan skin marred, Bridget saw, by two old scars—one long slash on his belly and one short, puckered scoring far too near his heart.

A lumpy cloth bag hung on a leather thong around his neck. Bridget left that where it was.

Bridget and Samuel layered the quilts over him just as Mrs. Hansen came through the door carrying the chipped basin filled with a half-dozen hot-water bottles. Bridget laid four of them at the man's icy feet and two on his chest.

The man did not move. Fear and disappointment touched Bridget's mind.

"Hold his head, Mrs. Hansen. I'll try to get some brandy into him."

Mrs. Hansen lifted the man's dark head while Bridget unstoppered the bottle. She tipped a measure of the sharp-smelling liquid into the cup and held it to his lips. He did not respond. Mrs. Hansen gently opened his mouth so Bridget could dribble a little brandy down his throat. He coughed once, then swallowed. Bridget gave him the rest of the dose, and he drank it easily.

His eyes opened again. They remained dark, almost black, even in the lamplight, and nothing of that light she had seen in them before waited there. His whole face registered deep confusion. Bridget laid her hand on his brow, pushing back the damp curls that had plastered themselves to his forehead. To her relief, she felt his skin warming, but not to the point of fever.

"You are quite safe," Bridget told him as she straightened up. "You are in the lighthouse on Sand Island. I am Bridget Lederle, keeper of the light."

He spoke, his voice still rattling from the water he had breathed, but Bridget understood nothing of the language he used. Its lilt made it sound a bit like Norwegian, although its hard consonants sounded like German, but it was not either.

Russian? she wondered to herself. It was possible. There had been a Russian man down in the village once, a sailor, and he was dark like this, but his clothes and his eyes ...

She shook herself. Those were thoughts for the morning, not for a storm-tossed night.

The man did not seem to see her in comprehension. He fumbled for his bag on its thong, still muttering.

"Rest," she told him, hoping he understood her tone, if not her words. "You will feel better in the morning."

She patted his shoulder, and all at once, he caught her hand in a strong grip. Mrs. Hansen gave a little shriek. Bridget, startled, froze for a bare instant. In that instant, the stranger wrapped a braid of cloth around her wrist and pinned her eyes with his own gaze, all that strange light shining inside him. She felt it burn through her then, and it forced open her mind's eye and she saw ...

She saw a girl dressed in the golden robes of a queen and knew the girl was afraid.

She saw a dark man looking out over sea cliffs, his face set in a frown of worry and suspicion. He hunted the man who lay in her bed.

She saw herself, standing in front of a golden cage that held a bird made entirely of flame. The cage was weakening and the bird inside would soon be free.

The next thing she knew, Samuel had grabbed the man's hand and pulled it away from her. The braid around her wrist loosened and the light blinked out of the stranger, and out of her. A tremor ran through Bridget. She lifted her water-roughened hand and slammed it hard against the stranger's ear.

"Never again, sir!" she ordered. "Or I swear by God I'll give you back to the lake!"

"Forgive me," he whispered, but Bridget did not miss the smile that played around his lips. "I wished only to speak with you."

"Then from now on you will use your tongue." She squared her shoulders and tried to pull her ragged composure back together.

"I will." He nodded, his craggy face as solemn as could be now. "Forgive me."

"Mrs. Hansen, Samuel, let's go." Bridget turned on her heel and left the room. Outside the door, her knees trembled so that she had to stop and lean against the wall.

"Miss Bridget?" Mrs. Hansen hurried to her side. "Are you all right? What did he do? Should Samuel stay to watch him?"

"I'm fine, Mrs. Hansen," Bridget said. It was only partly a lie. Bridget pushed herself away from the wall. "And I think you and Samuel may return to bed." She frowned and reached inside herself, searching for some hint of immediate danger. She almost wished she'd find something, so she would have an excuse to remove the stranger from her house. But there was no warning, only a nameless sensation of change that felt neither distinctly good, nor distinctly bad.

"He is just a foreigner. He will not trouble us further." At least, not tonight. "I was only startled."

"If you're certain," said Mrs. Hansen uneasily. Bridget nodded, and Mrs. Hansen accepted her affirmation in silence, but Bridget also knew the housekeeper would be tying an amulet against the evil eye around Samuel's neck before she went to sleep. For once, Bridget could not chide the old woman for this precaution.

"Good night, Mrs. Hansen," was all Bridget said.

"Good night, Miss Bridget."

(Continues...)


Excerpted from A Sorcerer's Treason by Sarah Zettel. Copyright © 2002 by Sarah Zettel. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2004

    Best Read in a Long time

    This book was interesting, well written and made me think. The book was absolutely wonderful and I enjoyed every single page.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2003

    This story can't have enough rating because it's too good to be given a rating.

    I absultly loved this book and even though I have read many books this series has fasinated me the most. I would reconmend this book for fantasy lovers and for people who just like to read books. Trust me this is a book for the shelf at home. Sarah Zettel is one of the best Fantasy writers I have ever read about and believe me I have read many books to know so go on buy it or rent it. The book tells of a story of a girl whose life is a horrible mess until she saves a stranger caught in the dangerous waves of Lake Superior. He tells her of a world that can promise her a new life. She follows him and falls into a world of danger,love, trust, treachery, and tons of magic. Get the book and read to find what happens to the main character named Bridget.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2003

    A great read!

    The details were fantastic, and the plot kept me on my toes! I advise it to other people. It's excellent from cover to cover!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2003

    This is the best book I have ever read

    If I could have given more stars, I shurely would have! I have read a lot of books and none have ever captivated me the way that this one has. The author does not waste any time drawing the reader into the story. I have never found a book, until this one, that there is no good point at which you want to put it down!!! It is continuously compelling and facinating!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2003

    Fantastic!!!!

    WOW! Sarah Zettel effortlessly blends classic fantasy with political intrigue and delightful spy games within a brilliantly described world. And her acurracy in describing 'second sight' (from one who comes from a long line of those blessed with it) is the cherry on top!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2002

    Wonderful New Fantasy Find!

    Sorcerer's Treason centers around a Wisconsin lighthouse keeper named Bridget Lederle. Bridget is an old maid in 1899 society and lives with her housekeeper and her housekeeper's son. She has made it her mission in life to save as many of the sailors as she can by almost religiously guarding the light. When a stranger is cast ashore wearing strange clothing and speaking a strange tongue, she takes him in - and ends up changing her life forever. Bridget finds herself transported from Wisconsin to the fantastical world of Isavalta (reminiscent of Imperial Russia). She places her trust in Kalami, the handsome sorcerer who was cast upon her shore and persuaded her to go to Isavalta, but is he being honest with her? For, as soon as she travels to Isavalta, she is thrust into the dangerous political power struggle between Medeoan, the aging dowager empress, and Ananda, the foreign princess who married Medeoan's only child, Mikkel. Kalami is on the side of Medeoan, but Bridget finds herself strangely drawn to Ananda's sorcerer, Sakra. When the gods of nature choose to get involved, a new world is about to be born... The reason why I gave this book 5 stars is because of Zettel's stunning characters. Bridget is a strong woman who has been punished for past mistakes and doubts her own abilities - though her choices become quite clear cut at the end, she still struggles to do what she knows she must. Valin Kalami is a foreigner sorcerer, the only one of his race to willingly go to serve the empire of Isavalta who conquered them. Even though he uses Bridget to gain his own ends, the reader still feels empathy for him and hopes that he will succeed in some way. Sakra is Kalami's opposite in that he is completely loyal to his princess. Ananda is a strong-willed foreign princess whose greatest crime was to fall in love with her husband. Even the gods and goddesses get involved including the Vixen, the Crows, and Baba Yaga. Everyone has their own reasons and everyone is torn between difficult decisions. My only complaint about the book is that I would have liked to spend more time with Bridget. Zettel jumps back and forth between different character viewpoints, usually every chapter, sometimes more often. This can be slightly disorienting and a bit offputting as the story loses some of its flow. It is nice to see the story through other characters' eyes, but it made Bridget seem less like the focal point of the story and more like the first person that Zettel chose to tell the story through. I would have preferred that more of the story was told through Bridget's eyes, with supporting views every now and again from other characters. Other than that small complaint, I have nothing to dislike about this book. The world was rich and full of detail. There are many different cultures and plenty of old rivalries that affect the future of Isavalta. The characters are complex and multi-faceteted. I sincerely hope that we will see more of the Isvalta series to come as the end left you hungry for more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2002

    exciting epic fantasy

    In 1899 Bridget Lederle tends the Sand Island, Wisconsin lighthouse when she rescues Kalami from Lake Superior. Kalami claims to be a sorcerer from Isavalta, home of Bridget's sire and a place that the lighthouse keeper has envisioned in her dreams. The foreigner also informs his host that his liege the Dowager Empress Medeoan Nacheradavosh sent him to bring her back to their kingdom. He eventually convinces the lonely Bridget to accompany him to his realm where he serves as the royal sorcerer. <P>However, the Empress has bucked tradition by refusing to give the throne over to the true emperor, her ailing son and his new bride. Meanwhile Bridget learns about her mystical heritage as she starts using her magical abilities in a court filled with political and sorcery intrigues that threaten to engulf the lass. She must learn to follow her instincts in order to decide what is best for her new country, but depend on no one, as a heavy dose of paranoia would help. <P>Though the names are difficult to read let alone pronounce unless you happen to be Russian, SORCERER¿S TREASON is an exciting epic fantasy that young readers (and some of us geriatric boomers) will enjoy. Bridget is a wonderful heroine as she runs the gamut of emotions while threats abound everywhere she goes from dastardly villains who want her dead or be gone, but never cross a sexual line (hence targeted for the youth). Fans of action-packed fantasy starring a strong, courageous female will relish Sarah Zettel¿s first Isavalta tale. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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