Born to Exile – Phyllis Eisenstein

Born to Exile

Summary

Alaric, found as a baby on a mountainside, with a human hand attached to his ankle, has reached adolescence as a journeyman minstrel, but left alone again with the murder of his master and friend. Unknown to others, Alaric has the power to travel instantly to any place he's been before - but it's as much curse as blessing when it forces him away from the woman he loves.

Review

Born to Exile was my introduction to Phyllis Eisenstein, and it was a good one. An episodic novel first published as separate stories, it works well as a novel. Eisenstein has a deft hand with characterization, and the story flows smoothly, with satisfying arcs within most chapter/stories. Alaric, though acting a bit older than his 16-17 years, is an engaging, interesting character who considers his actions. The book itself is a bit less successful in its arc, and ends somewhat suddenly, without exploring one of the mysteries it sets up.

Though the author is a woman, the stories were written in the ’70s, and some of the attitudes are a product of their time, with purely supporting roles for women. Despite that, it’s a very enjoyable read, and I recommend it.

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