Ace, June 2002, 6.99, 352 pp.
The world is divided into two groups of people who barely tolerate each other, but depend on one another to survive. The people living in the foothills are farmers while those who live in the plains are crafters. Alissa is a half-breed born of a plains mother and a farmer father disliked by both groups.
When Alissa turns nineteen her mother realizes she has inherited her father's magical talents and sends her to the Hold where as a keeper she will learn to control her magic from a master. On the road she meets Strell, a wandering minstrel born into a plains family. They join forces and journey together to the Hold where they meet an insane keeper waiting for them to find what he needs to conquer the world. They will defeat him or die trying.
The two protagonists of this novel are very brave and admirable people because they know they are walking into danger yet do it anyway. They learn the folly of divisiveness and see first hand how good can conquer evil when people work together. Though FIRST TRUTH may be Dawn Cook's debut novel, readers will place this excellent tale on their keeper shelf.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner