Who recommends: Kathleen, Julie, Margaret
THE PRINCE OF ILL-LUCK
THE WIND WITCH
THE TRUE KNIGHT
The protagonists are a widow, the "insignificant" descendant of the couple who meet in The Prince of Ill-luck, trying to make a go of it on her deceased husband's farm in order to gain legal possession, and a would-be raider (a shapeshifting, prophetic shaman from a nomadic people across the sea) who is captured during a raid on her farm. She makes a bargain with him: he's free to go look for the legendary wizard's city to the east if he first gives her a year's labor on the farm. She needs to keep her husband's death secret from relatives who'll try to marry her off (again) but she becomes part of a messenger system (on her wonderful horse, the Warhorse of the series title) to warn other citizens when attacks by the Viking-like raiders occur (as predicted by her new farmhand).
I liked this book for the characters, the setting, and the use of magical elements. The protagonists are thoroughly sympathetic and their romance believable, the farm and the work that goes on there throughout the year of the bargain are well described, and the magic--in the form of the miraculous horse (a hybrid of the west wind and a mortal mare), the shaman's powers, and the widow's own wind-whistling abilities--is important but doesn't overwhelm the more pragmatic elements. You don't need to have read the first book to enjoy this one; the time period and characters of each are separate.
The Prince of Ill-luck shows the beginning of the horse's life, and there are some funny scenes at the begining where the traveling prince of the title learns how to ride this horse he found "wandering." Dexter has also written a trilogy that begins with The Ring of Allaire and a stand-alone, The Wizard's Shadow. They are all set in the same world, I believe, but at different times and places.--Kathleen
I finally managed to get a copy of this one - I've had books 1 and 3 for ages but this one had eluded me. It's an easy pleasant read.--Margaret (15 Oct 00)