Monday, May 10, 2010

the world of the black magician trilogy returns in trudi canavan's the ambassador's mission

One of Australia's best-known and most popular fantasy authors, Trudi Canavan is back with her latest novel The Ambassador's Mission, the first book in her new Traitor Spy trilogy.
Canavan's Black Magician trilogy – made up of The Magician's Guild, The Novice and The High Lord – was an international best-seller that established her as a fantasy author to watch.
In The Ambassador's Mission, Canavan returns to the world she created in the Black Magician books.
It's a number of years later, and the son of Black Magician Sonea – the heroine of the original tale – is all grown up. Lorkin has set out on his first mission as an adult magician with Ambassador Dannyl, also returning from the first series.
Despite the damage done to the city of Imardin during the brief war with the Sachakan magicians years early, the two lands have an uneasy truce, although trade has restarted and Dannyl is about to become an official representative.
Lorkin's father, Akkarin, died during the battle but left behind him a legend that could possibly cause the young man some problems in the new land. Still, he decides to take up Dannyl's offer and heads off, much to his mother's disquiet.
Before long Lorkin is caught up in Sachakan politics, gets himself kidnapped – or possibly saved – and leads Dannyl and a bunch of Sachaka magicians on a merry chase across the countryside.
Once again Canavan has set up a likely group of characters in her well-established world, allowing for an easy fantasy adventure.
Central characters from the first series return – Cery the Thief is back and trying to work out why certain other thieves are going missing. Sonea is still restricted by the rulings of the Magician's Guild regarding the isolation of a Black Magician's powers and various other players arrive and depart moving the story along.
The addition of political machinations in Sachaka adds an extra dimension to the story, but all in all, none of this is ground-breaking fantasy.
Canavan writes solid, comfortable traditional fantasy. What makes her work stand out from the rest is her ability to infuse a sense of humanity and, odd though it sounds, reality, into her books.
Lorkin's chafing at his mother's over-protectiveness, Dannyl's continued issues with being homosexual in an anti-gay society and Sonea's sadness and loneliness after the death of her lover, all read as being very “real”.
The Ambassador's Mission is a great first book, in what will certainly turn out to be a series as successful as Canavan's first.

The Ambassador's Mission by Trudi Canavan is published by Orbit Books and is available from good book stores and online.


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