Book name: Exiles of the Rynth
Author: Carole Nelson Douglas
Publication Date: 1986
Exiles of the Rynth is book two of the Sword and Circlet series. It’s the sequel to Six of Swords, and it was the first time Carole Nelson Douglas had ventured into a sequel after writing a number of standalone novels.
Three more books were to follow in this series.
Carole Nelson Douglas wrote in many genres but Exiles of the Rynth is straight-up epic fantasy. I’m sharing this review to honour her writing because she passed away in October 2021.
Irissa comes round to find herself disorientated and vulnerable. In Six of Swords she had trusted the rainbow gate to lead to her safety with her people.
Instead, betrayed by the portal, she wakes up to discover that she is assaulted by bands of strange colours and is barely able to remember who she is or identify her own body.
It’s one of the most fascinating openings to a fantasy novel I can remember.
I immediately felt drawn in and inclined to ask what had happened to Irissa.
Since Irissa moved through the rainbow gate, she and her companion Kendric have become separated.
He is stranded with the Unkept women and the rimrunners, who exist on the boundary between different worlds.
When she is reunited with Kendric, Irissa is full of a quiet resentment that he has had some or all of her magical powers transferred to him. They embark on a quest to find another portal to take them to safety with Irissa’s people.
This leads them to encounter fantastical creatures and various people whose trustworthiness is highly in doubt. They must stick together and trust each other, even as Irissa struggles with the loss of her magical powers.
Carole Nelson Douglas creates a vivid world that sometimes feels a little whimsical. I like this in fantasy on an occasional basis and her attention to detail is impressive.
I found the early chapters unnecessarily literary and flowery in their style and phrasing, but I persisted because the story premise was a strong one and I was itching to find out how Kendric and Irissa would reunite and what her response would be to the loss of her powers. I was glad that I did.
Exiles of the Rynth is a mixture of portal fantasy and quest epic, and I liked the fact that the protagonists were moving between two fantasy worlds via the portal rather than our world and an invented one.
Carole Nelson Douglas was a prolific writer, producing scores of novels and stories.
She was best known for her mystery novels, including the Irene Adler series and the Midnight Louie series, although she wrote across many genres.
Douglas lived in north Texas. She is survived by her husband.
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If you’ve enjoyed this review, you might be interested in reading my review of The Steel Remains by Richard K Morgan here. Or you might like to take a look at my review of Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr here.
If you fancy something different, you might like to take a chance on my review of Scoop by Evelyn Waugh here.