Her name is Hekat - and she will be slave to no man. Art by Les Petersen.
The Godspeaker Trilogy
is a Dark Heroic Fantasy
trilogy of novels by Karen Miller, better known for her Kingmaker, Kingbreaker
series. Centered around the two main female characters: slave turned warrior turned Empress Hekat
and Distressed Damsel Rhian
. Assisting Hekat is Vortka
, one of the few good guys in his country's horrible religion
. On Rhian's side is Dexterity Jones
, who, with the help of his his dead wife Hettie
, turns into the Fantastic Glowing Man
with Healing Hands
. In the middle is Zandakar
whose younger brother Dmitrak he's always had some problems with
, not to mention a rivalry in the power weapon department
The first novel is Empress of Mijak
, in which Hekat is sold as a slave
by her parents, escapes to become the instrument of God
, being a sort of Chosen One
who thinks anyone who disagrees with her is possessed by demons as she is following the God's plan
. She seduces
the warlord Raklion, bears a son by the benevolent priest Vortka and ends up Queen of the whole known world.
The sequel The Riven Kingdom
involves Rhian running away
from her Arranged Marriage
and becoming queen in her own right
with the help of Dexterity and Zandakar, going against the High Priest Marlan
who just thinks Rhian should just get married
and really doesn't believe in any religion at all
In Hammer of God
, Rhian fights a sea battle
for her crown with Mass Teleportation
and a Final Battle
with some great explosive sequences
The series contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Hekat and later Rhian, and there are a lot of action girls as Mijak lets women be warriors.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The Mijaki.
- Alien Sky: Two moons.
- Ambition Is Evil: It's never quite clear whether one of Hekat's viler acts is truly motivated by her god speaking to her from within, or just her own ambition. For example, her using a divine curse to spiritually "neuter" Vortka, rendering him incapable of fathering future children that could challenge Zandakar's ability to wield the Power Crystal (and, coincidentally, negating his own ability to do the same) could have just been her own zeal to see her dynastic plans not thwarted... or genuinely prompted by the god in order to ensure her next child would be by Nagarak, ensuring he would be much more like a typical Mijaki.
- Anti-Villain: Nagarak.
- Armies Are Evil
- Arranged Marriage: Rhian's problem in the second book.
- Artifact of Doom: The glove that is the actual Hammer of God.
- Awesome McCoolname: Dexterity Jones.
- Battle Cry: "Chalava! Chalava zho!"
- Blood Bath: Mijak's godspeakers bathe in animal blood to commune with their god.
- Bloodbath Villain Origin: Hekat kills the two slavers who bought her with a divine-like curse as they had revealed her as a runaway slave to the warlord, and if the godspeakers heard, she would be nailed to a cross, disemboweled and left to die. Ironically, no actual blood is shed, and she even choses to forgo slitting their throats to use the curse.
- Blood Magic: The Religion of Evil of Mijak is built on The Power of Blood, and thousands of slaves die to spread the power of their dark god.
- The Chessmaster: Either Hekat or her god; it's hard to tell which of them is actually writing the plans, but either way she's involved in a lot of scheming.
- The Chosen One: Dexterity Jones and Zandakar are chosen by the God of Ethrea. Hekat, meanwhile, is The Chosen One of the chalava of Mijak.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The historical figure Rollin, and later Dexterity Jones.
- Dark Action Girl: Hekat.
- Dark Magical Girl: Hekat to an extent; she really wants her son to love her, but she's completely insane and The Chosen One of a dark god.
- Dual Wielding: The sword fighting of the knife dancers involves hotas using two blades. Rhian adapts this to broad swords.
- Eldritch Abomination: Chalava. The god of Mijak is a semi-sentient pool of dark magic, fueled by blood to become as strong as a god, and existing solely to strengthen itself with more bloodletting.
- The Empire: Mijak.
- Ermine Cape Effect
- Evil Makeover: Zandakar's hair turns blue when he uses the hammer, Dmitrak's turns red. Hekat gives herself an evil makeover.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: According to Miller, Mijak is supposed to be like the Hittites where Ethrea is Medieval England. Tzhung-tzhungchai is obviously China, while Arbenia and Harbisland have German traits.
- The Federation: The trade alliance with Ethrea, Rhian has to go through hell to get them to help her when Mijak is coming to attack.
- The Force: Where the magic of Emperor Han comes from, called "the wind".
- Freudian Excuse: Dmitrak's personality is because his mother Hekat never liked him.
- Hekat herself; her own childhood was horrifically abusive (she wasn't even named and her father demanded her mother not even bother trying to teach her to talk), and the trader that she thought had rescued her by purchasing her as a slave and proceeding to treat her with exceptional kindness was really just trying to amp up her value for when he sold her as a concubine. It's not really that surprising she becomes psychotically vicious in trying to climb as high in power as she can so she can at last be "safe".
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Hekat.
- God Is Evil: In Empress. The god is not actually the God that the characters in the later books describe.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: Ethrea doesn't have a standing army due to the treaty of the trading nations.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Both Hekat and Rhian cut themselves on the face so men can take them seriously. Hekat cuts her face twice.
- Happiness in Slavery: Hekat, before she realizes that the slavers care about her solely for her value and not for herself.
- Healing Hands
- Hero Antagonist: Hanochek.
- The High Queen: Rhian.
- Hopeless Suitor: Zandakar.
- I Did What I Had to Do Many times with Rhian.
- It's All About Me: Marlan
- Kill It with Fire: The gauntlet fires people where they stand. As well as Marlan's death.
- Knife Nut: Mijaki warriors fight with "snakeblades," which are more or less long daggers.
- Lady of War: Rhian.
- Little Miss Badass: Hekat.
- Love Triangle: Alisdair and Zandakar over Rhian.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Subverted here. We know the paternity of Zandakar and Dmitrak from the first novel, neither of them are told this until the third. And in Dmitrak's case it's just before he kills his mother and gets killed himself.
- Mass Teleportation: An entire armada.
- Mommy Issues: Dmitrak.
- Path of Inspiration: Vortka within Mijak's religion.
- Pimped-Out Dress
- Planet of Hats
- Plot Hole: Mijak's Hekat chooses her name due to mispronouncing "hellcat," which she was called as a child. Ethrean sounds like English no matter what point of view it's heard from, while Mijaki is represented as a completely different language when heard by Ethrean characters. The plot hole here is how the term "hellcat" sounds exactly the same in two uniquely-developed languages.
- Power Crystal
- Power Glows: When filled with power, Dexterity glows with fire that does not burn. Except for Marlan.
- The Power of Blood: Mijak's religious ritual involves so much sacrificial blood (including swallowing it hot and taking baths in it) it's just Sick and Wrong.
- Religion of Evil: Mijak, and they're really worshipping some dark power that they believe to be God
- Saintly Church: Ethrea's religion, except under Marlan who turns it into a cult about himself.
- Scary Scorpions: Scorpions are used to symbolize the god of Mijak.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Can be said to apply to the entire Mijaki society, who were confined within borders by their religion as they basically destroyed the world.
- Sentient Cosmic Force: The god of Mijak is a particularly evil variant.
- Slice-and-Dice Swordsmanship: Pretty much everything to do about hotas.
- Spirit Advisor: Hettie and Marlan.
- Stay in the Kitchen
- Stuff Blowing Up: This is the gauntlet's effect on pretty much everything, except people of course.
- Take Over the World
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself
- Throw-Away Country: Anything in Mijak's path.
- The Unchosen One: Hekat, she makes a sort of Deal with the Devil (even though the devil is what she thinks to be God).
- Villain Protagonist: Hekat.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Dmitrak, as mentioned above. His mother really does not like him. She only came up with the idea of having a second child able to wield the Power Crystal because she hoped that this "spare" would attract the attention of demons and thusly be a living, disposable shield for her precious Zandakar.
- His efforts to win Hekat's love are even more doomed by the fact she had to lie with a man she absolutely hated and despised, the high godspeaker Nagarak (due to having earlier gelded Vortka on a spiritual level to avoid future competition for Zandakar), in order to conceive him. That he was an agonizing breach birth, requiring an unspeakably painful caesarian that she never fully recovered from, is just icing on the cake.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Rhian, who has a constant battle keeping her throne and proving she can rule in her own right.