The Firekeeper Saga
by Jane Lindskold
is a fantasy series based around a Wild Child
girl who was raised by wolves and brought back to human society. Where it would usually appear as your standard High Fantasy
, the author has twisted the standard setting a lot
and eliminated most of the World Building Non Sequiturs
usually found in the genre.
The main character is Firekeeper, a.k.a. Lady Blysse Norwood, who was raised by wolves following a fire in the settlement she grew up in. However, said wolves were Royal Wolves, a species as intelligent as humans and able to communicate with each other and the other Royal animals. When she was adopted by human aristocrats, she gained her other, more formal name.
She has a Talking Animal
companion, the wolf Blind Seer, so named for his unusually colored eyes
. He often functions as a mild Deadpan Snarker
, making fun of the humans who can't understand him behind their backs.
Her human friends include Derian Carter, a businessman's son and later counselor to King Tedric
; Lady Elise Archer, heir to a barony and rather tougher than she usually looks; Sir Jared Surcliffe, a.k.a. Doc, a minor nobleman and not-so-minor doctor; and a whole host of others.
List of books:
- Through Wolf's Eyes (2001)
- Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart (2002)
- The Dragon of Despair (2003)
- Wolf Captured (2004)
- Wolf Hunting (2006)
- Wolf's Blood (2007)
This series provides examples of:
- Animal Motifs: The Great Houses of Hawk Haven and Bright Bay all have animal totems, as do the animal societies.
- Animal Talk
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted; many of the aristocrats are portrayed sympathetically, while others are useless or, occasionally, really evil. The general impression is that aristocrats are people.
- Blessed with Suck: The Once Dead. Survivors of the Burning Plague who are able to retain, and even increase, their magical gifts, but at the cost of some form of maiming or disfigurement. The only exceptions to this are Firekeeper and Blind Seer, who approached the issue through a different angle.
- Blood Magic
- Brother-Sister Incest: One of the legends told of the Meddler is of him helping a pair of young lovers forbidden from being together by the boy's father. Going along with his tendency to not think things through and ignore consequences, it's revealed only after the pair run away together that they're half-siblings, the sister didn't know this, but the brother did.
- Towards the end of the series, we learn that Tiniel was in love with Isende. Her relationship with Derien and other factors concerning her are a large part of what drive his actions in the sixth book.
- Carnivore Confusion: The "it happens. Deal with it." variety. In fact, also partially subverted in Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart with the Story of the Songbirds, in which the Royal predators decided to prey only on other Royals, which caused big problems.
- Cataclysm Backstory: The series is set in a group of countries that were originally colonies of empires badly weakened by a magical plague.
- Conjoined Twins: Tiniel and Isende were born connected at the hand.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Averted.
- Deadpan Snarker: Elation is the most obvious.
- Didn't Think This Through: A trademark of the Meddler. At least in the fables that talk about him.
- Disappeared Dad: No one but Duchess Kestrel knows who fathered Sweet Eirene or Earl Kestrel, and she isn't talking.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Firekeeper wears footgear as rarely as possible, and throws fits when told to put shoes on.
- Evil Matriarch: Lady Melina.
- Finger in the Mail: Citrine's fingers, sent to Lady Melinda. Her only reaction is to burn them.
- Functional Magic: Mostly involving blood. There's a reason that about half the countries we see hate it.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Virim. When Firekeeper and friends reach his tower they find dozens upon dozens of Virims, all arguing with one another and representing every second guessing of himself.
- Half-Human Hybrid The Maimolodalu
- Happily Adopted: Sapphire and Citrine. Neither seems particularly hesitant to call their adopted parents father.
- Immune to Fate: Firekeeper's nature makes it hard for Seers such as Truth to accurately predict events she's involved in.
- Intellectual Animal: Every one of the Royal Beasts.
- Kissing Cousins: A lot of the marriages of Hawk Haven's noble class, but Elise and Jet are a major example.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: The Maimolodalu
- More Than Mind Control: Lady Melina
- Non-Human Sidekick: Sort of used, sort of inverted, sort of subverted. Although Firekeeper has them (Blind Seer, Elation, and sometimes Bee Biter), she's basically the human sidekick to a gang of wolves. Also, the "sidekicks" in question have their own opinions and tend to do what they want, not what she wants.
- Our Dragons Are Different: The Dragon of Despair is rather... strange.
- Rags to Riches: Not quite Rags, but Derien goes from a carter's son to royal counselor to diplomat to national leader in his own right.
- Raised by Natives: Firekeeper. Even though she's Raised by Wolves (and it shows), the Royal Wolves and Beasts are the natives.
- Sapient Steed
- Spanner in the Works: Firekeeper, for the reasons listed in Immune to Fate.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Firekeeper.
- After surviving the Burning Plague, Derien gets a limited version of this.
- Succession Crisis: The entire first book centers around one. Firekeeper is brought to civilization because Earl Kestral believes that she is his niece, the king's granddaughter, and potential heir to the throne. She isn't.
- Talking Animal: The Royal Beasts, even if most people can't understand them.
- The Wise Beasts as well, and their co-existence with humans has offered at least rudimentary communication between them.
- Theme Naming: All of Melina's children are named for precious stones.
- Surnames among Hawk Haven's common folk are often taken from and indicative of their professions. In fact, Derien Carter becomes known as Derien Counselor once the king names him such.
- Trickster Archetype: The Meddler
- Unusual Animal Alliance: Both Royal and Wise beasts have done this for the greater good throughout the books.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Virim, the man who created the Burning Plague that wiped out the original spellcasters.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Book four moves the story to a totally new region of the world, leaving unresolved plot points from the original region (Valora's grudge against Bright Bay and Hawk Haven for removing her from the throne of Bright Bay, the settler's grudge against Firekeeper for getting them evicted from their settlement, the possibility that the Royal Beasts deliberately destroyed Barden's settlement) forever unresolved.
- Wild Child