THE TRAITOR'S DAUGHTER - Paula Brandon
The City of Vitrisi and the Land of Ironheart
Jianna Belandor, daughter of Magnifico Aureste Belandor, has been promised in marriage to a member of the House of Tribari. Terribly upset to be leaving her doting father, Jianna, headstrong and outspoken, pleads with him to rethink sending her so far away. But Aureste has a reason for wanting his beloved daughter out of the city; unrest among different factions has made Vitrisi a dangerous place, and his daughter's careless actions could have tragic consequences.
What Aureste didn't count on, despite a heavily guarded carriage, is the kidnapping of Jianna by a relative that he ousted from the city years ago. Dowager Magnifica Yvenza Belandor, widow of Magnifico Onarto Belandor, has revenge on her mind. Onarto was head of the Six Houses of the Veiled Isles and had retained his title and property despite being occupied by the Taerleezi army. He had taken in his relatives, including Aureste, to protect them, but Aureste manages to convince the occupying forces that Onarto is a traitor, fleeing with his family to the wilderness compound of Ironheart. And now they want to pay Aureste back for his treachery by marrying Jianna to Yvenza's eldest son, the cruel and heartless Onartino.
Waiting for the person to arrive who can perform a legal marriage ceremony, Yvenza treats Jianna as a prisoner, expecting her to work in the compound. Jianna manages to escape at one point and is found by a young, itinerant physician, who is actually on his way to Ironheart. Onartino finds them, and Jianna is once again a captive. But the doctor, Falaste Rione, seems kind and concerned. Maybe Jianna can convince him to take her with him when he moves on. Can he be trusted?
THE TRAITOR'S DAUGHTER is a debut novel and the first in a trilogy of House Belandor . The details of this fantasy world are incredible, and the undercurrent of unrest is palpable. Characters are well rounded, although many are incredibly cruel. What I take away from this story is that it is a dark tale of a strange land peopled by some privileged and many desperate beings. There is an abundance of violence. Jianna is a survivor, but also very naïve at first. Her growing knowledge of the world around her is part of what Rione brings to this story.
While beautifully written, THE TRAITOR'S DAUGHTER is not for everyone. The treachery and bloodshed can be off-putting to some readers. It's an interesting, if dark, premise.