author: Mercedes Lackey
series: Vows and Honor #2
published: 3 January 1989
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Sunhawks' Quest--When Idra, leader of the crack mercenaries known as the Sunhawks, failed to return froma a journey to her home kingdom of Rethwellan, Tarma and Kethry, warrior and mage, set out in search of their vanished leader. Sisters of sword and apell, their fates bound together by a Goddess-sworn oath, they were eternally pledged to fight the forces of evil.
And evil had indeed cast its shadow over Rethwellan. Idra, so they were told, had left long ago on a search for a legendary magical sword which could reveal which of her two brothers was meant to become the new king. With the princess gone, her younger brother had been branded an outlaw and her older brother had claimed the throne. Both instinct and mage-lore told Kethry and Tarma that all was not as it seemed, that both Idra and her people were in terrible jeopardy. Yet would their Goddess-given powers, aided b those of a Herald of Valdemar, prove strong enough to break the dark enchantment possessing this land?
Oathbreakers is much less episodic than the first novel of this part of the Valedemar series, and while I enjoyed the first, this one was much more easily readable.
In this one, the Sunhawk’s leader, Idra, is revealed to also be a Rethwellan princess who renounced her claim to the throne to pursue her own life. But now the kingdom is in distress after the King’s death, and she is forced to return to help settle the dispute. When she does not return, Tarma and Kethry travel in disguise to Rethwellan in order to discover what has happened to their friend and leader. As with all of the books in this overall saga, this is a story of intrigue, politics, and power struggles, as well as that of change.
I loved the character growth that was present in this story. Kethry is finally able to open herself to the idea of love and partnership with a man she meets, finding in him the partner she needs to help her rebuild Tarma’s clan. She also becomes a much stronger mage, coming to her own with her abilities. The relationship between she and Tarma also deepens, and I enjoyed that. But it was also their relationships with others that I loved. It made both women seem like fuller people, more complete, and I liked that so much.
This book also revisits some of the interesting plot lines from the books of Vanyel’s time, the lack of magic in Valdemar, setting the stage as well for future books that will be based on this premise.