In the Books Section:
- Did you enjoy the book? Why or why not? Do you think you'll read the sequel(s)?
- Marks plays with the idea of the "sacred king" - tying the spiritual leader of the land of Shaftal directly to the land. Do you think she did this effectively? Thinking along those lines, what are some of the ties between the things that happen to Karis' body and the events that transpire in Shaftal?
- Moral philosophy plays a significant role in the book - what are the key moral elements at play here? What message(s) do you think Marks was trying to express?
- Despite being written before 9/11 and the subsequent War/Occupation in Iraq, there are many aspects of the land of Shaftal which seem to speak to the events in our own world of late. Discuss.
- This book won the Gaylactic Spectrum Award for Best Novel. Did you feel its depiction and handling of GLBT characters, issues or themes was positive and significant?
- While the book includes many "typical" fantasy elements - Marks seems to revel in turning many of them sideways. What are some of the more un-typical choices made by Marks?
- Her magic is vague and powerful, yet based on a fairly standard trope (elemental magic). Did you feel that the magic "system" was internally consistent? "believable"? interesting?
- Marks uses quotes from three Shaftali books at the beginning of each section (Mackapee's "Principles for Community"; Mabin's "Warfare"; "Medric's "History of My Father's People"). Did these quotes enhance or enlighten your reading of the book?
- Much of the book deals with contradictions and paradox - characters as both hero/villain; extreme power/extreme weakness; Sainnite warriors being obsessed with flowers; etc - Why do you think Marks chose to deal so much with this?
Further Recommended Reading:
Earth Logic - by Laurie Marks
Dancing Jack - by Laurie Marks