Review: Lorimal’s Chalice by Jane Fletcher [review by Lori L. Lake]

LORIMAL’S CHALICE
By Jane Fletcher
Fortitude Press/P.O. Box 41, Melbourne, FL. 32902/www.fortitudepress.com
December 2002/$18.99/388 Pages/ISBN:0971815062
Tevi is the oldest daughter of Red, who in turn is the daughter of the Queen of Storenseg. In this matrilineal society, the women are the warriors and the men are small, weak, and serve in roles as housekeepers, babysitters, and servants. Tevi does not belong. She is awkward—not good with a sword or any type of weapon—and the leaders of Storenseg do not believe she possesses any useful leadership skills. Her younger sister, Laff, is far better suited for power and ruling. Unfortunately, Tevi makes the mistake of revealing feelings for a woman, and in this profoundly heterosexist society, that is cause for death or exile. Like the ugly duckling, Tevi is a disgrace in the eyes of all her people.
Rather than sentence her own granddaughter to death, the Queen sends Tevi on an impossible mission to recover a chalice stolen under odd circumstances. In anguish, the 19-year-old woman embarks upon a journey to other lands. In classic Quest form, Tevi goes out in the world and this is when the fun starts. While learning new skills and finding talents she didn’t know she had, she encounters wayfarers, sorcerers, enchanted castles, witches, wild animals, dwarves, and magic—and Jemeryl, who is a young Sorceress who not only saves Tevi from a terrible fate, but also proves critical in the search for the stolen chalice. As it turns out, Tevi’s quest has much further reaching ramifications than anyone back in Storenseg ever imagined.
A mesmerizing read, LORIMAL’S CHALICE is a tour-de-force packed with adventure, ordeals, complex twists and turns, and the internal introspection of appealing characters. The author writes effortlessly, handling the size and scope of the book with ease. Not since the fantasy works of Elizabeth Moon and Lynn Flewelling have I been so thoroughly engrossed in a tale. This is knockout fiction, tantalizingly told, and beautifully packaged. I highly recommend it.
Lori L. Lake has been an author, editor, teacher, retreat leader, and creativity coach, and, until a few years ago, a book reviewer as well. She’s written a dozen novels, two short story collections, and edited four anthologies. Her work has won three Goldies, three Rainbow Awards, the Alice B Medal, and the Ann Bannon Award. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and is currently working on her next novel and a nonfiction writing book about creativity. Website: www.LoriLLake.com.