Apprenticed to a healer, Elissa has just been “the orphan” all her 13 years in the mountain village. As she gathers herbs for Nana’s remedies, she converses with the animals and birds who speak to her, but never uses her Gift in the village, where everyone is related to someone else and being more different means being less accepted.
Then Lord Falk, prince of the land, arrives at High Crossing and claims Elissa as his daughter, saying that they must leave at once for the Citadel of the Khan, to ask his help against invaders. On their way to his fortress, Elissa is kidnapped, then freed by her donkey who travels with her to meet the desert Blue People, who reluctantly serve the Khan.
In the Citadel, things are not as they seem. If Lord Falk must leave Elissa there while the Khan’s soldiers go with him to repel the invaders, will the Khan make her one of his wives against her will? Why does the slave girl Maya know so much about the hidden places and ways of the Citadel? How can the Healers win a battle against the Khan with no weapons?
Book 1 of the Phoenix Rising Trilogy is a great beginning to Elissa’s story – can this young woman save her country? Will her Gifts help her or lead to her ruin? Followed by Elissa's Quest (352 pages)
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/schoollibrarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA