Before she was born Tava Ell Var's mother was caught and held by a band of shape-shifters. They were cruel men. When her mother found herself with child, she knew she had to escape. A traveling scribe named Varamon Vel Tith found her. As she told her tale, he wrote it down so that Tava would know part of her history. After her mothers death Varamon took Tava as his own daughter and they settled down on a farm. In the Five Springs village, where she was raised, Tava was declared a disgrace because she was not docile. She was too forward and didn't heed her rightful place. Women were supposed to be subservient to the men. Bandits kill her father and Tava goes hunting them. She sees a warband of Shifterai warriors also hunting them. When the warriors come to the village to make a deal with the elders to hunt down the bandits that killed their scribe, they come upon Tava. The village elders plan to take her farm and belongings away from her and make her a slave. When the leader of the warband, Kodan Sin Siin finds this out he is determined to take Tava back to the shifting plains with him. While striking a deal with the elders about the bandits, Kodan demands Tava and the money that her farm is worth. Tava finds herself facing two choices. She can stay in her village and become a slave or she can go with Kodan and be free. With knowing nothing about the shifters but what she learned from her mother’s story, Tava takes a chance and goes with Kodan. Can Tava overcome her fear of the shifters and embrace her heritage? Knowing Tava is a shifter and that he wants her, Kodan will have to teach her their ways and help her overcome her fears enough to trust him.
This is a prequel to the Sons of Destiny series by Jean Johnson and can be read as a stand-alone. I really enjoyed this story just like I enjoyed Ms. Johnson’s other books. She blends the fantasy and romance together seamlessly and brings you into brand new fantasylands that are filled with wonderful characters and environs. This is definitely an author to keep your eye on. Ms. Johnson is an auto buy for me.
Originally reviewed 12/21/2009. This book has been reissued in mass market paperback as of 10/2/2012.
Centuries before the time of the Sons of Destiny, a female shapeshifter became the leader of the people of the Shifting Plains… Tava Ell Var never really knew her mother, but she did know her tragic fate at the hands of a band of cruel shapeshifters—a history set down by Tava’s father as a warning about life on the Shifting Plains. But after her father is murdered, Tava encounters a Shifterai warband fighting to rid the Plains of the terrorizing bandits. Shifterai leader Kodan Sin Siin is sympathetic to Tava’s suffering, but he’s determined to bring the wary young woman to the Plains. Because he knows her secret: She, like he and his men, is a shapeshifter. Once she joins them, he knows that she will see for herself the true fate that awaits her on the Plains, and most of all, lose her fear of his people. And, in time, he knows she will find her place is in their fight—and by his side.