A High Fantasy
tetralogy by Geraldine Harris, The Seven Citadels
tells the story of Prince Kerish, son of the Emperor of Galkis and therefore tracing his ancestry back to the god Zeldin (with some superhuman powers that follow), and his illegitimate half-brother Forollkin, who go on a quest to find the seven keys to the prison of a legendary saviour who will be able to save the empire from imminent invasion by its barbarian neighbouring kingdoms. Each key is in the possession of a wizard, whom it grants immortality, and each wizard will have to be persuaded to relinquish it and therefore his eternal life.
An excellent example
of a Plot Coupons
quest, the series is Young Adult
fantasy, but can just as well be read by adults. In addition to much outstanding Scenery Porn
, it focuses on Kerish's growth from spoilt Sheltered Aristocrat
to mature hero, and the moral dilemma inherent in making the wizards give up their keys. Oh, and expect some Nightmare Fuel
Tropes appearing in this work:
- Action Girl: Gwerath
- Anyone Can Die
- Badass Normal: Forollkin
- Boisterous Bruiser: O-Grak, though he plays it up a bit around people.
- Deadly Decadent Court: Does Galkis even deserve saving with these guys in charge?
- Eccentric Mentor: High Priest Izeldon
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Children of the Wind are strongly similar to Native Americans. While not as close a match, Galkis has a Far East tinge to it.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Empress Rimoka.
- It's the Journey That Counts: When Kerish opens the door expecting to find the prophesied saviour, he finds a mirror on the other side.
- Kissing Cousins: Kerish falls in love with his cousin, Gwerath.
- Lady Land: Seld, which is ruled by women, while men are expected to be pretty, made-up concubines.
- Love Triangle: Kerish, Gwerath and Forollkin.
- May-December Romance: O-Grak and Neeris.
- Mystical White Hair: Kerish's hair has turned completely silver at the end of the journey.
- Nec Romantic: Kerish's father spends his days mourning by Taana's sarcophagus. (Not to be confused with Shubeyash, who's a necromancer.)
- Older than They Look: Ellandellore.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: O-Grak deliberately plays this one up in front of Galkians.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Kerish, at first.
- Skunk Stripe: Kerish has a silver stripe in his black hair.
- Technicolor Eyes: Kerish, like all the Godborn, has purple and gold eyes. Forollkin, while not inheriting that trait, has green eyes with silver spots.
- The Vamp: Zyrindella.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Averted. Immortality is seen as something worth keeping.