Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me in this blog tour for Empire’s Daughter by Marian L. Thorpe. When I read the synopsis, I knew that I wanted to ask to be a part of this tour. It sounds like such an amazing novel, and I was so thankful to receive the approval notice. Check out my review below, and be sure to see the other stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above.
Empire’s Daughter by Marian L Thorpe
Genre: Alternative universe medieval adventure
Publication Date: Feb 2015
Estimated Page Count – 285
Book I of the Empire’s Legacy trilogy. Can be read as a standalone.
Potential Trigger Warnings: Hand to hand combat violence and resulting death; the protagonist is trained as an assassin. No graphic sex. One cat dies, no dogs. No sexual violence but discussion of rape as a possibility.
For twenty generations, the men and women of The Empire have lived separately, the women farming and fishing, the men fighting wars. But in the spring of Lena’s seventeenth year, an officer rides into her village with an unprecedented request. The Empire is threatened by invasion, and to defend it successfully, women will need to fight.
When the village votes in favour, Lena and her partner Maya are torn apart. Maya chooses exile rather than battle, Lena chooses to fight. As Lena learns the skills of warfare and leadership, she discovers that choices have consequences that cannot be foreseen, and that her role in her country’s future is greater than she could have dreamed.
Writer of historical fantasy and urban fantasy for adults. The Empire’s Legacy series explores gender expectations, the conflicts between personal belief and societal norms, and how, within a society where sexuality is fluid, personal definitions of love and loyalty change with growth and experience.
The world of Empire’s Legacy was inspired by my interest in the history of Britain in the years when it was a province of the Roman Empire called Britannia, and then in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire. In another life, I would have been a landscape archaeologist, and landscape is an important metaphor in the Empire’s Legacy trilogy and in all my writing, fiction and non-fiction.
I live in Canada for most of the year, England for the rest, have one cat, a husband, and when I’m not writing or editing, I’m birding.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and Arboretum Press for this free copy.
Hand to hand combat violence and resulting death
the protagonist is trained as an assassin
No graphic sex. One cat dies, no dogs.
No sexual violence but discussion of rape a possibility.
**These content warnings were included by the author for this tour.
The premise of this first novel is definitely interesting, and it makes me think back to learning about the hunter-gatherer societies that were dominant in way ancient history. Similar to real history, the women were the gatherers of food and supplies, while the men use their physical prowess to defend their Empire. What’s more interesting in this novel, and something that I don’t remember hearing cases about in school, is that they basically kept the sexes separate from the moment the child turns 7 years old. Before then, women are the ones that raise the children despite their sex. So even in this world, they are still in charge of the “household” by taking care of the children and keeping them alive until it’s time for the boys to transition to live with the men and learn how to be soldiers.
While this arrangement has been working out for the Empire for over 20 generations, things have changed to the point that women are now “needed” to become soldiers and help protect the realm. I guess the men are finally realizing that women can actually be useful in the arts of war, especially if that’s something that they are more prone to helping their society through the art of war rather than the domestic arts.
One of the things that did hurt me was that since there were two different choices that the women had to make, our main couple weren’t able to come together and stay together. While one side went to fight, the other decided that it wasn’t worth it and chose to live in exile. Is the prospect of having to fight for your Empire that terrible that you’d rather not have the chance to come back home? I don’t remember how the punishments really work in this society, and what the repercussions would be for such “betrayal” to the Empire. Isn’t it better to actually have a choice that will be respected?
On another note, not all of the women should be forced to fight since women still need to be available to take care of the children that aren’t trained to fight or really need adult supervision in order to survive. It’s okay to not have all the women fight, and having them exiled is detrimental to the future of the Empire.
I’m curious to see what ends up happening in the next two books, on whether Lena and Maya ever see each other again, if their love is able to stand against these forces that have kept them away for selfish reasons. Nobody should be forced to kill if they were given a choice. They should have the choice to stay and defend their home in another way.
This was such an interesting take on a fantasy world, and went into gender roles in a way that was almost thought provoking on another level, one that I didn’t think I would have while reading this.