A trilogy by Catherine M. Wilson that includes The Warrior's Path, A Journey of the Heart, and A Hero's Tale. Beginning with the words "all the women of my family had gone to war", narrator Tamras tells the tale of how she is fostered in the house of a neighboring Lady and comes to understand the path of a warrior. Set during the Bronze Age, it's an adventure story wound up with honor, love, and following one's heart. The author calls it "epic, not fantasy", but it takes many elements of mythology into account.
This book provides examples of:
- Broken Bird: Sparrow, who's quite friendly but sometimes comes across as a bit of a Stepford Smiler thanks to all the abuse she's taken. Maara also counts, when her backstory is revealed.
- Cast Full of Gay: The female warriors all seem to tend this way. The main couple is Tamras and Maara, and of the warriors who do end up with men, only Namet is portrayed as having been deeply in love rather than having an heir. Non-warriors seem to be a bit more equal-oppurtunity.
- Dark is Not Evil: People who are dark-haired or skin are revered by people who "hold the old ways" but distrusted by others. There is no personality difference.
- Feminist Fantasy: Low Fantasy at most, but the elements are still there.
- Friends with Benefits: Tamras and Sparrow, by the end of the first book.
- Guile Hero: Tamras, especially by the third book.
- The Hero's Journey: The overreaching arc of the three books.
- I Have Your Wife: A weird, non-villainous, voluntary example as Tamras offers herself up as collateral if Maara should betray the House as some of the other warriors suspect she will. Maara is not happy when she finds out.
- Lady of War: Merin. Averted with Vintel, who, despite being the war leader of Merin's house, is about one step short of Ax-Crazy, according to Maara.
- Loners Are Freaks: What most of the other warriors think of outsider Maara. She gradually warms up to a few of them.
- The Lost Woods: Tamras and Maara end up here at the end of the second book.
- Love Hurts: Merin and Tamnet, long before the story even begins. And it's never stopped hurting.
- Morality Pet: Sparrow, for Vintel.
- The Power of Love
- Sex Slave: Horrifying, this is how Sparrow is treated from the age of eleven.
- Shipper on Deck: Gnith, for Tamras and Maara.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Apparently everyone but Tamras knows that Maara feels this way about her apprentice.