Adrian Tchaikovsky is best known for the Final Architecture and Children trilogy and is an amazingly talented Fantasy / Sci-Fi writer.
This story is based on a culture that is around the medieval level of technology and follows Lynesse who is the fourth daughter of the Queen. Being the fourth daughter she is “spare” and so is seeking to make a name for herself. Lynesse sees a neighboring land suffering from some kind of plague causing death and people are saying that it is caused by a Demon. Wanting to help but her mother refuses to help as they are focused on their own land and so they don’t think this problem will affect them. Lynesse can see that sooner or later it will affect them all. So she makes the trip to request the aid of the “sorcerer” Nyrgoth. Invoking a pact he made with her ancestor in the past when he helped her. Nyrgoth is not in fact a Sorcerer but an Anthropologist who has been left on this planet to monitor their development and to await his colleague’s return. He decides to help her as he feels abandoned as his people have been gone a long time while he was in some sort of cryosleep, there have been no messages from Earth and he is not sure what to do.
This was a book that I was looking forward to, as it contains a crossing of genres, Fantasy and Science fiction, I was interested in the premise of seeing a world from both sides. It very much does lean towards the old saying any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Lynesse and her people see Nyrgoth as a sorcerer, but he is just a man struggling with being alone and abandoned. He is suffering from depression because of this and is just trying to find his way.
It was a fun read although at times I was having to push through, it was good to see this event told from the two perspectives. I would recommend this book to any Tchaikovsky fans.