Marie Jakober,
Even the Stones
(Edge, 2004)

When Prince Held of Dravia kidnapped young Queen Marwen of Kamilan and forced her to become his wife, he had hoped that it would end the feuding between their two countries. But though he treated her kindly and hoped that she would turn to him, his action only made her his implacable enemy, waiting for the best chance to escape.

When the chance came at last, Marwen didn't hesitate. With her faithful minstrel Kiri -- a Dravian woman -- at her side, Marwen returned to her own country where a council of ministers had been reigning in her stead during her long imprisonment in Dravia. Naturally, these same ministers were somewhat reluctant to give up their power to what they perceived as a willful, half-trained, half-grown girl, especially one who had sworn to restore the long-outlawed worship of Kamilan's mother goddess. But Marwen took her place as queen anyway and began to shape her country as she felt it should go; the councillors must either keep up or get out of her way.

Even the Stones is first and foremost an examination of gender issues. What is the proper place and behavior of a woman? Should even a queen be allowed to rule as she sees fit, with no man to guide her? And what of religion? How can a strong woman be seen as other than a witch or whore when she breaks the rules of a patriarchal religion and worships a goddess, be she queen or commoner?

Jakober examines all of these questions and more in this powerful, absorbing book.

- Rambles
written by Laurie Thayer
published 19 March 2005

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