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Banner of the Damned

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Emras, a scribe assigned to the intelligent and beautiful Princess Lasva of Colend, is on trial. But why? Emras had accompanied Lasva to the barbaric, martial land of Marloven Hesea years before so Lasva could join her betrothed, a Marloven prince. But before Emras left Colend, she was charged with a secret mission from her queen: to monitor her new home for signs of the insidious and dangerous influence of Norsunder—a magical land once thought to be legend, but now known to ...

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Banner of the Damned

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Overview

Emras, a scribe assigned to the intelligent and beautiful Princess Lasva of Colend, is on trial. But why? Emras had accompanied Lasva to the barbaric, martial land of Marloven Hesea years before so Lasva could join her betrothed, a Marloven prince. But before Emras left Colend, she was charged with a secret mission from her queen: to monitor her new home for signs of the insidious and dangerous influence of Norsunder—a magical land once thought to be legend, but now known to exist.

What went wrong? If Emras was acting on orders from her queen, why is she on trial now?

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Framed as a royal scribe's apologia, Smith's newest (after Blood Spirits) is a magical tale of political intrigue and romantic entanglements. When her sister, the Colendi Queen Hatahra, finally produces an heir, Princess Lasva's royal aspirations are dashed, so she despairingly departs for the barbarous land of Marloven Hesea, where she weds Prince Ivandred. Fearing for her sister's safety in a primitive land renowned for its military and magical might, Queen Hatahra charges the royal scribe Emras to keep watch over the Princess, and ascertain whether she is being influenced by the dark magic of Norsunder, a kingdom once believed to reside only in myth, but now distressingly real. Emras must fulfill the wishes of the Queen in accordance with the three rules of the scribe: "Do not interfere," "Keep The Peace," and "Tell the truth as we see it." In Emras's struggle to parse good from evil magic, something went terribly wrong, and now she is being forced to defend herself. A dawdling beginning is rescued by the bold and engaging female characters, and Smith's world is wonderfully imagined. While the legal defense frame occasionally makes for dry reading (and frequent transgressions of the ubiquitous axiom "Show; don't tell"), Smith's epic is nevertheless vividly realized and entertaining. (Apr. 3)
VOYA - Courtney Huse Wika
Banner Of The Damned is narrated by Emras of Colend, who is chosen as Princess Lasva's scribe after serving penance as a kitchen maid. The imposed kitchen exile only further commits her to the life and virtues of a scribe, as one who does not interfere, keeps the peace, and records only the truth. When Princess Lasva finds herself usurped of the throne after her older sister conceives a child as a result of a successful birth spell, she knows she must seek a new home. While many suitors court her, it is Prince Ivandred of Marloven Hesea who secures her heart with his bravery. But Prince Ivandred's land and people are very different from the Colendi, and there is evidence that they are connected to the dark realm of Norsunder. Worried, the queen tasks Emras with both protecting Lasva and discovering whether the Norsunder connections exist. Emras, out of her element, must unearth the truth despite grave danger. The novel begins with Emras's "defense testimony" as she is being judged for her actions as Princess Lasva's scribe. Emras struggles at times to remain true to the scribe rules, and the novel addresses the conflict between duty and loyalty, edicts and personal authority. These themes and the story's nonstop action and adventure are foreshadowed in the opening pages. Though an intimidating tome of 704 pages, Emras's earnest narrative and the fantasy world's rich and intricate mythology will keep fantasy fans reading to the very last word. Reviewer: Courtney Huse Wika
Locus
"A frequently thrilling tale, full of adventure, romance, and magic, a charming mix of everyday details and epic overtones."
SFSignal
"Sherwood Smith should rank high on any list of military writers.... The cavalry battles, hand-to-hand, strategy sessions, the aftermaths of battles, these scenes in Banner of the Damned roll across the page with effortless mastery... a first rate author boldly at play."
Tor.com
"Tremendously enjoyable.... The characters are interesting, believable, and well-drawn, the politics — national and personal — compelling, and there’s plenty of action and excitement to go around."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756406776
  • Publisher: DAW Hardcover
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Pages: 704
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 2.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sherwood Smith started making books out of paper towels at age six. In between stories, she studied and traveled in Europe, got a Masters degree in history, and now lives in Southern California with her spouse, two kids, and two dogs. She’s worked in jobs ranging from counter work in a smoky harbor bar to the film industry. Writing books is what she loves best. She’s the author of the high fantasy History of Sartorias-deles series as well as the modern-day fantasy adventures of Kim Murray in Coronets and Steel. Learn more at www.sherwoodsmith.net.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2012

    Interesting, but slow to get started.

    Banner of the Damned is a well written novel from Sherwood Smith, and the main character is engaging and likable at first. However, I felt that plot got bogged down in minutiae of court life and studies. I almost felt like I was forcing myself to finish it on occasion, though it does finish with a flourish - setting itself up well for a sequel. I would probably read a sequel, but this is not anywhere near the top of my must re-read list.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2012

    Banner of the Damned is a perfect example of why Sherwood Smith

    Banner of the Damned is a perfect example of why Sherwood Smith is a genius. The world of Sartorias-deles that she has created is rich in history and detail. This book ties together so many threads from her previous stories (Inda, Crown Duel, Senrid, A Stranger to Command) that you can't help but be amazed by her skill as a world-builder and storyteller.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

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    Posted April 3, 2012

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    Posted June 4, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

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