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It’s the 1200’s, and the small realm of Ilari has had peace and prosperity for generations. That doesn’t mean every citizen is happy, however.
Sulphur, the third of seven sisters, is glad the older two have been slow to wed. It’s given her the freedom to train as a fighter, in hopes of fulfilling her lifelong dream of joining Ilari’s army. Then, within a matter of days, both sisters announce plans and now Sulphur is expected to find a man to marry.
Is it Sulphur’s good fortune her homeland is gripped by fear of a pending Mongol invasion? And the army is going door to door encouraging recruits? Sulphur thinks it is. But once she’s forced to kill in a small skirmish, she’s ready to rethink her career decision.
Too bad it’s too late. The invasion is coming, and Ilari needs every good soldier it has.
Once Sulphur learns Ilari’s army has made the strategic decision to not defend certain parts of the realm, including the one where her family lives, she has to re-evaluate her loyalty. Is it with the military she’s always admired? Or is it with her sisters, who are hatching a plan to defend their homeland with magic?
Everywhere she turns, someone is counting on her to fight for what’s right. But what is?
I found the booth with no problem. As only officers wore uniforms and the man standing there was decked out in full regalia, I guessed he was someone important. My nervousness surprised me as I approached him.
“Hello lass,” he greeted me with warmth. “Let me guess. You’ve got a younger brother who wants to join us but he’s too nervous to come talk to me himself. Am I right?” He seemed pleased. With what? That he induced nervousness in potential recruits?
“Uh, no. Sir. I was hoping to get some information on me joining.”
He looked at me more closely. Of course I wore a dress, not my fighting clothes, so I didn’t much look the part, but he squinted at me anyway.
“You’re tall. And you look to be in good shape. Have you ever held a sword?”
“I’ve been sparring since I was a child.”
That impressed him.
“And I’ll do what ever you need to me to. Answer questions about weapons, engage in fights, perform tests of strength, whatever you need.” I spoke too fast in my eagerness.
“Slow down,” he chuckled. “All that’s good, but actually, none of it is as important what I’m going to tell you next.”
He hesitated as if he wasn’t sure how to explain this vital fact to someone as uninformed as me.
“You’re a farmgirl, right?” He looked at my clothes again.
“Well, the Svadlu are more of a city operation. We do things different than on the farm.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean being a member of the Svadlu is a pretty good deal. Lots of young people want in.”
“I know. That’s why I’ve worked so hard.”
“And that’s good, but I’ll cut to the chase. Most successful recruits get a sponsor. You know, someone already in the Svadlu who vouches for them. Um, especially if you’re, well, you know, a woman. Then it helps a great deal if one of us says you’re up to it.”
“But I can prove I’m up to it!”
“I suspect you can.” The look he gave me held respect, but he stayed firm. “A sponsor makes the difference. Why don’t you ask around. Surely your family knows someone who can help you?”
He looked up. Several people stood behind me now, hoping to talk to him. “If you’ll excuse me …”
4 out of 5 (very good)
SHE'S THE ONE WHO GETS IN FIGHTS is the third book in the War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters series and this time, it's Sulphur's story.
Sulphur is the one who wanted to join the Svadlu and, thanks to Coral, made it. On her own merits, she rose in the ranks and became one of the Mozdol. This put her in the uncomfortable position of various groups asking her to give them information on the other groups she was associated with. What follows is an intricate and intriguing story as Sulphur finds her own path.
I love seeing how the different sisters see and act in various situations. Seeing the same thing through different eyes gives the reader a more-rounded view of the situation and Ms. Cronin does this perfectly.
The pacing of the story was just right, the world-building as good as ever, and the character development was spot-on. A fantastic addition to the series that I absolutely recommend. I can't wait to see who comes next!
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
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