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The Golden Lynx by C.P. Lesley
Now I am off to the second book in the series! Lesley is a GR friend of mine, but I paid full price for my copy of this book and the opinions in this review are entirely my own. Sixteen year-old Nasan and her younger brother Girei have left their home to romp in the forest for a few stolen hours of childish freedom. They are both growing up and soon their respective adult worlds will claim them. Girei will be old enough to become a soldier, and Nasan will have to spend time with the women learning more about being what she is destined to be: a wife capable of running a royal Tatar household.
The two will not have much time together once this happens. But neither realizes just how short an amount of time together they actually have left, or how much their separate destinies will change by the time they finish their innocent snowball fights and horse races this day.
How will Nasan deal with these changes? Will she embrace her new fate, run from it, or discover a way to do both? Will she become who she was meant to be all along? I was captivated by this story from the first pages. The settings, the people, the action, the magic, the intrigue, the mystery. Everything felt so real, so vibrant, that I stayed up extra late more than once to find out what would happen next.
I have already started the second book in the series, which features Nasan's older brother Ogodai, a character I met and admired in this book. And if you will excuse me, I left at a very dramatic moment. I have to hurry back to the steppes! I had fun. It may or may not be of use to others. Mind, I know next to nothing about 16thC Russian-steppe outskirts Next: I have a thing for fighting women.
When I found fighting women from The Book of Dede Korkut , for instance, cited here as aspiration-figures, the kind of girl Nasan wants to be, I was in.
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Her people are now Muslim — in the way they are Dede Korkut , that is, with strong underlines of their earlier religion. So, I'm afraid, is the book - where I learn, conversion is slow and never perfect. So Nasan has her 'grandmothers', whom she feels to guide her, and a spirit doll doll to Russian eyes that she feeds daily, treats as holy, draws inspiration from.
You know from the blurb, the infant Ivan the Terrible is involved View all 10 comments. Sep 14, C. Since I am the author, what follows is not a review but some information that may be useful in understanding the Legends of the Five Directions series as a whole. For almost years — , the disunited Russian principalities belonged to what is commonly but inaccurately known as the Golden Horde, the western part of the vast Mongol Empire created by Genghis Khan and his descendants.
Over those years, Mongol dominance gradually declined as the Golden Horde fractured and the Russian pr Since I am the author, what follows is not a review but some information that may be useful in understanding the Legends of the Five Directions series as a whole. Over those years, Mongol dominance gradually declined as the Golden Horde fractured and the Russian princes united. Beginning in , Russia conquered the khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, leaving only the Khanate of Crimea—a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire that retained its semi-independence until the reign of Catherine the Great — In a political system that depended on consensus among the nobility, which in turn depended on a pecking order determined by who married his daughter to the grand prince, rule by a child too young to wed threatened to destabilize the government by removing its best means of moderating competition among aristocratic lineages.
In short, it was every boyar for himself—or at least for his clan. The prospect of weak and divided rule also attracted the attention of expansionist neighbors—specifically, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which sought to recover lands lost to Russia during the previous reign. View all 5 comments.
- The Golden Lynx.
- My Treasury of Farmyard Tales (Treasuries 96).
- The Four Bears Drank Dr. Pepper.
I've studied the 16th century for nearly 40 years, so it was quite a surprise to find that an entire world I knew nothing about existed at that time in Russia, just a few hundred miles from Western Europe, where I think most of us were led to believe everything important happened. The co-existance of Christian and Muslim cultures and the fact that both societies were clan-based with only the beginnings of a sesne of a nation called Russia was all new to me, and made for fascinating reading.
The I've studied the 16th century for nearly 40 years, so it was quite a surprise to find that an entire world I knew nothing about existed at that time in Russia, just a few hundred miles from Western Europe, where I think most of us were led to believe everything important happened. The best part was the kick-ass heroine, Nasan, made even more interesting by her coming from a Muslim society, which overlayed an older, shamanistic religion.
I don't think I've ever seen a female character outside of a fantasy novel dream of being an epic heroine from days of old. These legends, along with the author's vivid descriptions of everything from food to architecture to racing across the snow on horseback makes The Golden Lynx well worth reading. This was the choice of my reading group here on Goodreads and I voted for it, because 1 Tatars, 2 Russia pre-Peter the Great. I'm not all that familiar with the era, but I love A. Tolstoy's the least known of the three Tolstoys Prince Serebrenni , and Lermontov's The Song of the Merchant Kalashnikov is one of my fav poems, so… It started very good - the heroine Nasan, a Tatar princess, witnesses a murder which appropriately chilling and described with great care.
Then it turns out that in or This was the choice of my reading group here on Goodreads and I voted for it, because 1 Tatars, 2 Russia pre-Peter the Great. Then it turns out that in order to put an end to a blood feud, she has to marry a brother of a guy whom she believes to have been the murderer. She duly does so, changes her name and religion, leaves her home to live with people of different culture… it might have been interesting.
The problem is, the people surrounding Nasan, and Nasan herself, are basically 21st century Western people in historical costumes. They constantly discuss and analyze everything. Their motivations are painfully clear. Religion and culture don't actually influence anything more deeply than the surface. Nasan is supposedly a princess, probably groomed to become a wife of someone more or less significant, but she loathes housework, can't cook, can't sew, can't embroider, eww womanly pursuits!
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The husband's family discovers that the new bride has been sneaking out at night, but they don't mind really, the girl must have had some reasons, right? Let's not be mean. This is by the way a family where the wife calls the husband "Kolya" AND children dare sit in presence of their parents AND let said parents clean the dishes.
Sometimes someone usually a woman remembers it's after all a historical novel, and says stuff like "Women don't meddle in politics. The Lord in His infinite wisdom made us the handmaidens of men. Then there is "oh, Papa, you wouldn't believe the excitement we've had" - 19th century?
And oh boy, isn't Grusha trouble! She is the only character I sort of cared about. She's Nasan's husband's house slave. This husband, Daniil, is a man and is hot, so can't be chaste or anything.
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He had a wife before, and countless lovers. Grusha has been his latest. Never mind she is his slave, and might have hoped for some change in her sad life due to the master's interest in her. Nobody is surprised, not even the reader. Nobody believed that Daniil might have felt anything for Grusha oh excuse me, stupid Nasan did, because otherwise there wouldn't have been any romantic misunderstanding.