Tor, May 2004, 27.95, 398 pp.
Growing up in an impoverished peasant croft family in the Chyrian lands of Mel'Nir, Gael Maddoc has no hope of escaping the farm life. She detests toiling the land, finding it boring and costly especially when she looks at her parents and two older siblings. She sees nothing positive in her future though she dreams of adventure.
That changes when Gael turns seventeen as the priest Druda Strawn sees something in her especially after she gave to him last year the ancient map parchment she found. He arranges for her to train with the Summer Riders as a true battlemaid while her family's back taxes are paid. Gael leaps at the opportunity to train as a mounted soldier and easily adapts to the military regiment with her background helping her with a stoic acceptance.
The Shee Fair Folk also notice something special about Gael as they believe she is the legend, the Wanderer, "the chosen servant of the light folk". They begin guiding her for she is the hope to save the realm.
Fans will not be able to delineate between Ms. Wilder and Katya Reimann who apparently completed this tale. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Gael becomes a soldier in training and never slows down as The Wanderer tries to make things right. Without any gimmicks, readers obtain a realm scarred by war and betrayal with a pinch of magic as a flavoring. This is a fitting tribute.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner