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    A ripping fantasy yarn.

    I began this story not quite knowing what to expect. A new author, one I'd never read before. Well, how glad I am that I took the plunge. Smith's heroine is, I think, someone we can all relate to. She thinks herself ordinary - less than ordinary in fact - and yet finds herself in some quite extraordinary circumstances. Smith's characterisation is really quite excellent. The common foot soldiers are as you would expect them; course, rough tongued and loyal to a man. There are cowardly troop captains and traitors and those whose loyalties you just can't quite put your finger on. This is, of course, a fantasy novel and with fantasy comes magic. But unlike many other fantasy novels I have read, the magic in this novel does not take over the main plot line, but runs alongside it; a constant, and sometimes malevolent threat, which lurks over every page. Please do give this a read, I highly doubt you'll regret it.
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    A great story that kept me reading past 3 am!

    I gave up on reading fantasy for years because I was tired of the same old plots being used over and over again. So when I started to read A Spell in the Country, I had fairly low expectations. I was wrong on all accounts. The author has an original and wonderfully complex plot, and she knows her stuff. The book isn't populated by the usual lone knights or warriors off doing their own thing. No, the main character is part of a troop and lives life as part of a military unit. Life in the barracks and swordplay are both well written, giving the reader both fast paced action and time for reflection. And that time for reflection is good, considering the plot twists. Oh, and when someone gets hurt, they heal in real time. That's actually refreshing compared to books in which broken ribs are forgotten after a couple pages because the protagonist needs to be in the action again. Sure it's a fantasy novel, but a little reality goes a long way. The author has also transcended the Strong Female Character that other authors tend to use to make a point. The protagonist is strong, believable, and it's irrelevant that she's female. She, along with a cast of well-developed characters and an intricate plot kept me engaged and wanting more. I highly recommend the book for anyone who wants a good, original story that maintains a high standard of writing through to the end.

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