THE WHITE SPELL – Lynn Kurland
Book 10: The Nine Kingdoms
The Nine Kingdoms
Acair of Ceangail, the youngest bastard son of evil mage Gair, has attempted to follow his father's dark footsteps and has caused heartache and disaster for most of his life. But that life has come to a screeching halt after being confronted by two “do-gooders”, Runach of Torr Dorainn and Soilleir of Cothromaiche, mages who will no longer tolerate Acair's behavior. The penance they have chosen for Acair is for him to spend a year not only behaving himself and doing something good for someone, but he must also do so without his magic. Acair's choice is that or something Solleir has threatened - to turn him into a statue. What choice does he have? Being nice is something that's going to be difficult, but Acair sets off to perform his year of contrition.
Leirsinn of Saraichte, despite being the niece of Fuadain, works as a stablehand in his vast stables. She does so without complaining for Fuadain holds his father, Leirsinn's grandfather, in a state of suspension in his house. Leirsinn works hard, loves and trains the horses, and keeps every bit of money she earns with an “investor” in the village. Saraichte is not known for its beauty, or friendliness. It's a dark, dangerous town. But some day Leirsinn will have enough money to take her grandfather and flee the confines of the place. In the meantime, she must keep away from her uncle and his henchmen, who take delight in insulting her, despite her way with the most difficult horses. So when a new stable boy appears on the scene, Leirsinn starts to train him, realizing immediately that he is not of her class, not used to laboring at anything, and completely unsure of horses. She has also noticed that wherever she goes at the farm and in the village there are dark circles on the ground where there shouldn't be dark spots.
Life is not as he would like it, but Acair is grateful for the lovely young woman he works with, as well as her co-worker Doghail who looks out for her. Acair discovers just how rotten Leirsinn's uncle is almost upon arrival for the man has fired most of the stable lads for questionable issues, and has put the burden of caring for the horses on his niece. He treats her less like a relative, and more like a slave.
THE WHITE SPELL is the tenth book in the Nine Kingdoms series and it deals with a mage who has spent his life being as evil as could be, but who is coming to the realization that he is not as evil as his father, and being nice isn't all that difficult. It's especially easy when life involves the beautiful girl he's been thrown together with. They bond, hesitantly, and Acair convinces her to leave when he overhears her uncle and his minions discussing her demise. But the black spots and one other image that Acair assumes Soilleir has sent to keep him on the path are following them, and the black spots prove to be dangerous to anyone who steps on them.
Acair and Leirsinn's journey takes them to various kingdoms where Acair tries to find Soilleir and ask him to remove the shadow following them and to discover what the black spots are; easier said than done, though, as Soilleir is not so easy to find. Trying to protect Leirsinn and himself without any magic is proving to be very difficult, too. There are dark beings pursuing them, and their magic is overwhelmingly powerful.
Lynn Kurland's Nine Kingdoms books are riveting and filled with adventure. THE WHITE SPELL is no exception, and, while readers know of Acair's background from previous novels, he will become a reluctant hero in this story. Leirsinn doesn't believe in magic, but she rapidly changes her feelings once she witnesses what it can do. She's brave, but naïve, and Acair must protect her not only from evil, but from her naiveté. Beautifully written, as usual, this is yet another book of Kurland's that is difficult to put down until you reach the final page.