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Son of Avonar
Carol Berg
Roc, 480 pages

Son of Avonar
Carol Berg
Carol Berg lives in Colorado but has her roots in Texas. She attended Rice University and received a BA in Mathematics. After teaching high school math for several years, she stayed home and raised her children, attending the University of Colorado where she earned a BS in Computer Science. She works as a software engineer for Hewlett-Packard.

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SF Site Review: Restoration

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

Life these past ten years has not been easy for Seri, once a duchess and now a peasant trying to fill her belly by gathering dyestuffs and selling them. When she runs into a wild young man in the woods, naked and insane, she wisely runs away. Until an old enemy shows up on her doorstep who demands to know if she has seen him. Despite her better judgment she goes back for the young man, who she eventually dubs Aeren. She soon discovers that he's capable of sorcery, an ability that is considered a mark of deviltry, one punishable by death by burning. Seri knows this quite well. Her beloved husband was discovered to be a sorcerer, and was burned at the stake. Her son was taken from her moments after his birth and killed. Her self-imposed exile was arranged so that she could hope to find peace away from the people who once knew her, those who killed her loved ones, and who all think her contaminated.

She manages to track down a man who knows Aeren, who is, in fact, his servant, who bears grim news. Aeren must be helped to regain his memory, for without the knowledge locked in his mind, the world she knows will be utterly destroyed.

The tale in Son of Avonar is actually two, braided together. We have the main story, where Seri and Aeren journey to resolve his and, by proxy, the world's problems. It is a dangerous journey, one of intrigue as she revisits places and people she thought never to see again in the hope that one of these leads will help. Along the way they have to avoid the soulless Zhid, who are seeking him in the hope that they can stop him. They also have to avoid her new home village's local sheriff, a man she is determined to despise, for he is a representative of the very law that took everything from her, and, when a solider, a man who took part in the despoiling of Avonar.

The second story concerns Seri's life before and leading up to her exile. We meet her beloved Karon, who is from the same culture as Aeren. We learn a lot about the main story through the telling of this one, and we learn a lot about Seri herself. It's very bittersweet, because the love and relationship she had with her husband was very strong, very lovely. His tragic flaw, we soon learn, is that his ability to heal is so ingrained that he knew if he was ever discovered, he'd be able to do nothing to save them, for killing is completely against his nature. How these two stories eventually come together is a pleasant surprise.

It is also interesting to see the contrasts. The Seri from the main story is not quite the Seri from the second. I liked seeing how the tragedy and the gap of ten years between the story changed Seri. She is an excellent main heroine, her voice, from the first person, is real and practical.

Son of Avonar is the first book in the series, and I'm truly looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Copyright © 2004 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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