This is a review of “Froi of the Exiles” by Melina Marchetta. It is the second book in The Lumatere Chronicles. It follows on from “Finnikin of the Rock“.
Froi has grown up. He excels in his combat training, and he’s become very adept at speaking foreign languages. He’s devoted to Queen Isaboe and her royal consort Finnikin, but he knows in his heart that he is loyal to them as individuals and friends, he’s not necessarily willing to die for the Kingdom of Lumatere. He lives by a bond made to Isaboe. He’s careful not to forget it. He’s afraid without the bond, he’d be debased and cruel. Much worse than the dirty, foul mouthed street urchin he was before Isaboe and Finn came along.
Isaboe has many duties as Queen. She’s rebuilding her own kingdom and meeting with the leaders of surrounding ones to ensure the safety of their future. She will never allow a repeat of the past to occur. She’s got her husband Finnikin and their daughter Jasmina, her cousin Lucian, Trevanion and his guard, Froi, and Beatriss, Yata and Tesadora. Everything seems to be progressing nicely.
Trevanion and Beatriss still have not gotten back to how they were. Truth be told, it’s probably impossible. But they so badly want one another. But Trevanion does not want to speak of the past, Beatriss thinks they really need to. Beatriss cannot get her village functioning again either. The ground just will not yield anything, no matter how many times it is plowed. Beatriss does not want to leave. But how can she stay?
Lucian of the Monts is finding it hard to rule his people. He misses his father very much, and doubts that he can ever fill his shoes. He’s entered into a marriage with a Charynite woman from across the border, honouring an agreement made by his father with her father. But his bride is useless. She’s constantly flinching away and crying, he sends her back. But she remains just across the border, in the valley just below the mountain of the Monts, claiming that her father will not have her back. A group of Charynite refugees have begun camping in the valley near the Monts. But Queen Isaboe will not grant them refuge in Lumatere. She cannot forget the part played by Charyn in the slaughter of her family and the invasion of the imposter King.
But the Charynites remain in the valley. And soon more join them. And with them they bring a plan. To bring down Charyn, and dispose of its twisted King. They need an assassin, and who better than Froi? A former exile who can speak like a Charynite, and who can kill with ease? So Froi travels to Charyn, and enters a world vastly different from that of Lumatere. A world without children, a world that speaks to him, and sings to his blood.
I really loved this book. I could not put it down. It was great to see so much page time devoted to Froi, who first intrigues us in “Finnikin of the Rock“. Quintana (Princess of Charyn) is wonderful. You can pity her, love her and dislike her all at once. I loved this story of Charyn. I am very glad that I do not have to wait for “Quintana of Charyn” after the way this book ended though!