Off the Shelf
The Singers Crown
By Marcus Pan
The Singers Crown is Elaine Isaaks first
foray into writing and shes done a great job. A mesmerizing story set in
a fantasy milieu, its epic in size and proportion. The characters are
very lifelike and quite personable at times, and the story delves into
adventure, war, fantasy and intrigue to form something similar and akin to
Kings Eyes of the Dragon(1), but told in a better manner similar
to Tanith Lee.
The story revolves around an usurped throne and the
castrated singer that is the last of the royal lineage of that family. Taking
pity on his favorite nephew, Duke Thorgir sends young prince
Kattanan du Rhys off to a monastery where he is castrated, per religious
beliefs, to become a singer. Its years later, traded about, when he finds
himself in the court of King Gerrod. Traded to the princess, Melisande, as a
gift in the hopes of his last lord gaining favor during courtship, a murder
later he finds himself running from Gamels Grove where the despicable
Orie has gained the young girls favor and had the singer run off
not realizing that this is the long lost royalty figure that the kingdom of
Lochalyn has been searching for.
The characters in The Singers Crown are
brilliantly written. The anguish of Kattanan, who has no real ambition to be a
king as it is thrust upon him by his grandmother, and the engineering of his
disappearance to leave behind his new Queen, Briana, to fitful friend Fionvar.
The mixture of Jordan the Wizards Bane with Alswytha, Wizard of Nine
Stars, was a brilliant portion of unexpected romance and the rise of the Wizard
of the Princes Blood was wonderfully concocted.
Overall it was a great story and, while it took a while to
get moving, kept on steadily once it did and all the pieces of intrigue were in
place to unravel later. The idea of Wizards having no power over a person
unless asked was excellent and unexpected and can greatly limit their power at
times, leading to great dialogues of punch, jab and dodge to keep a
wizards inquisitiveness at bay without accidentally calling upon their
power and opening yourself to their touch.
As the war to oust traitor and throne usurper King Thorgir
came to an end, youd figure this would be the end of the plot. While
climactic as a whole it certainly wasnt the end of all the political
movements that were occurring as Orie stepped up in an attempt to capture not
only the newly freed Lochalyn throne, but that of Bernholt and King Gerrod as
well. There was still a bit more to go as Prince Wolframs body was borne
back to the palace at Bernholt for his funeral and subtle royal outrages as the
plot thickened and the final climactic ball, confrontation and battle finished
The Singers Crown with a very unexpected ending.
Nearly 500 digest size pages, The Singers Crown
isnt one of your standard small fantasy pulps. Nor is it written as such.
A great first outing by Elaine Isaak and Im curious what she could do
with a true, multiple volume epic as well now. The Singers Crown
could have been one of these, but she kept it in one and ran it well.
The Singers Crown by Elaine Isaak
Copyright © 2005 by Elaine Isaak
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