Born into hardship, Dar learns to rely on herself alone. When her family betrays her, Dar is conscripted into King Kregant's army and its brutal campaign to conquer a neighboring country. Now she is bound as a slave to a dreaded regiment of orcs, creatures legendary for their savagery and battle prowess.
Rather than cower, Dar rises to the challenge. She learns the unique culture and language of the orcs, survives treachery from both allies and enemies, and struggles to understand a mystical gift that brings her dark, prophetic visions. As the war escalates-amid nightmarish combat and shattering loss-Dar must seize a single chance at freedom.
Showing 1-9 of the 9 most recent reviews
1 . A must read!
Posted January 17, 2010 by Tanyalyn , clarksville, tnThere is so much I loved about this book, I couldnt put it down, a must read!
2 . Ok read
Posted November 14, 2009 by Jennifer , CharlottesvilleI enjoyed reading this book. The main characters were likable. However, I didn't like the way that humans are portrayed in this book. Too many of them are greedy, inhumane, and cowardly that I feel like they are two dimensional. I would also not recommend this for children due to some of the things that happen in the book.
3 . An excellent novel. Thank you, Morgan Howell.
Posted November 12, 2009 by Floyd , San Antonio, TXLike most of us here, I downloaded this novel because it was free at the time. Excellent choice! This is a great book, much better than I expected. When I finished, I immediately went out and bought the others in the series. While the book does deal with some well-worn fantasy tropes, especially the orcs, it does so in a fashion I've rarely seen duplicated. I assure you, by the end of the novel you'll be cheering for the orcs rather than the perfideous human scum they serve. They're not perfect -- some of the orcs are less than noble, and they tend to be vicious -- but they're not the throwaway easy kills that you see in most fantasy novels right back to the Lord of the Rings. The writing, too, is excellent: clear and easy to follow without being simplistic and condescending. I'd recommend you download this one and have a read, even if you have to pay full price. It's worth it.
4 . Better than I thought it would be
Posted November 07, 2009 by Omega , Hampton Roads, VAI'd stopped reading fantasy a long time ago. Picked up the book as a freebie, and finished it in roughly one night. I thought the two cultures, orc and human, were reasonably well-thought out. I liked the heroine's resourcefulness and daring. I disliked the over-emphasis on misogyny on the human side. I am really not sure why fantasy writers seem to think that women heroines have to be victims of some sort of violence in order to "become strong" -- it's almost formulaic, and one of the reasons I quit reading the genre.
All things being equal, it was a good read that encouraged me to pay for the sequel.
5 . I couldn't put it down.
Posted November 01, 2009 by Judy Wood , Conroe, TXThis book took me by surprise. It was totally not what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it. I play to purchase the other two books in the trilogy as well.
6 . Just a Great Book
Posted October 26, 2009 by Deborah R , Fort Walton BeachI only got this book because it was free and I was very surprised! I usually lose interest in a fantasy book but this one kept me interested all the way, Even had me up at midnight trying to read the end before going to bed. I'll be getting the next book very soon.
7 . Great viewpoint
Posted October 11, 2009 by Avid Reader , GlendaleI picked this up as a freebie, and ended up purchasing the other two books in the series. I really enjoyed the whole story, but especially the fact that orc's for once, weren't the bad guys.
8 . Captivating!
Posted August 20, 2009 by Cindy P , Nashua, NHI used to be an avid fantasy reader, and this book has renewed my interest again.
9 . Slow start but great read
Posted August 15, 2009 by Amanda Dinsmore , Snohomish, WAI got this book as an e-book and am already looking to purchase the others in the trilogy. I was unimpressed with the book at first but the story quickly captured me and I had a book i couldn't stop reading on my hands. The intense protrayal of the lead character and her interactions with those around her, her situation and most of all herself were a great read and I also was highly impressed with the authors creation of Orcs, their history and their language. Funny, tragic and exciting are all words that I could use to describe this story and I look forward to finishing the books and finding out what happens. If you start it, don't be discouraged by the somewhat slow start. There is a history that is eventually explained although my few complaints about the book have more to do with the back story itself... I am hoping that it is filled in more as the books continue.
July 29, 2007
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Excerpt from Queen of the Orcs: King's Property by Morgan Howell
Dar walked alone down a mountain path, bent beneath a load of ﬁrewood. The trail she followed hugged steep rocky walls that blocked the morning sun, so the air and ground still held the night's chill. Nevertheless, she walked barefoot and wore only a tattered, sleeveless shift with a rag to cushion her shoulders. Dar moved quickly to keep warm, but the sound of a distant horse stopped her short. None of her neighbors owned one, nor did anyone in the tiny village beyond the far ridge. Only strangers rode horses, and strangers often brought trouble.
Dar listened. When the hoofbeats died away, leaving only the sound of wind in bare branches, she continued homeward and arrived at a hollow devoid of trees. Its stony ground had been prepared for spring planting. At the far side of the hollow lay the only building-a rude hut, built of rocks and roofed with turf. The horse was tied nearby. Dar was considering leaving when her father's wife emerged from the low building with a rare smile on her face. The older woman called out. "You have visitors."
The smile heightened Dar's wariness. "What kind of visitors?"
Dar's stepmother didn't respond, except to smile more broadly. She moved aside, and six armed men stepped from the dark hut followed by the village headman, whose air of self-importance was subdued by the soldiers' presence. Dar's father came after him. Last emerged Dar's two little half sisters, looking frightened. All watched Dar carry her load over to the woodpile. She set it down, then asked her stepmother again, "Thess, who are these men?"
"King's soldiers," replied Thess.
"Why are they here?"
"There's a levy for the army," said the headman. "Our village must provide two."
"Then they've come to the wrong place," said Dar. "My brothers are dead, and Father's too old."
"It's not men they want," said Thess.
"I'm no ﬁghter," said Dar.
Thess laughed humorlessly. "Then you've fooled me."
"Not all who serve the king need ﬁght," said the headman. He turned to one of the soldiers. "She's the one."
"Father, what's going on?" asked Dar, already guessing the answer.
Her father looked away.
"This was his idea," said the headman.
"It's for the best," said Dar's father, his eyes still elsewhere.
"Best for her," said Dar, casting her stepmother a resentful look. "She'll be pleased enough to have me gone."
"I'll be glad for some peace," retorted Thess. "Always the proud one, you."
"Unlike some, who'd tup a man for a space by his ﬁre."
"You'd be a wife, too, if you weren't so willful."
"She's best suited for the army," said the headman.
"I'll determine that," said the soldier in charge. Though he was the youngest, his helmet and arms were ﬁnely made, and his armor was metal, not leather. "Murdant, see if the girl's ﬁt."
The murdant, a man half again the age of his ofﬁcer, slowly circled Dar, taking in her sturdy grace. He thought her old to be unmarried, perhaps two dozen winters. Though unkempt, she had pleasant features- large dark eyes, a delicate nose, russet hair, and full lips-making him surmise it was her temperament that had kept her single. As if to conﬁrm this, Dar stood with a deﬁant expression, ﬁsts clenched at her sides.
"Show me your teeth," said the murdant.
Though Dar realized the murdant was unlike some suitor who could be scared off by a show of temper, she pressed her lips tightly together. The murdant only grinned, then roughly pinched her cheeks with his thumb and foreﬁnger to force open her jaws. He got a quick glimpse into Dar's mouth before she struck a blow that he easily warded off. "She's got her teeth and the rest of her looks sound enough."
"She'll do," said the ofﬁcer.
The headman bowed. "Tolum, we always fulﬁll our duty to the king."
The ofﬁcer regarded him disdainfully. "This spinster's no great sacriﬁce."
Thess entered the hut and returned with a small bundle wrapped in a threadbare cloak. "I've gathered your things," she said, handing them to Dar.
The tolum mounted his horse. "March her to our camp and be quick. I'll be waiting." Then he rode off.
The murdant addressed the other soldiers. "You heard the tolum. Move!" He turned to Dar, who clutched her bundle with a stunned look on her face. He had seen that expression before. Her people have given her up, he thought. She has nowhere to turn. Still, he doubted her deﬁance was extinguished. "You ﬁxing to give us trouble?"
Dar shook her head.
"Then come along, we have to catch up with a horse."
Dar turned to bid farewell, but her family had disappeared into the hut.
At ﬁrst, only the tread of the soldiers' booted feet broke the silence. Dar walked blank-faced among the men, considering what to do. To buy time, she trod as though her feet were tender, hoping to slow the pace.