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'Unnatural Issue' by Mercedes Lackey

Seventh in the Elemental Masters series, based on the fable ‘Deerskin’. For those of you who don’t know, the fable in question is about a king who loses his wife, then eventually decides to marry his daughter (versions differ on whether it is solely due to her resemblance to her mother, or to fulfill a certain vow). She escapes, hides in a neighboring kingdom, and eventually marries a prince and punishes her father for his sins.

Here, Lackey sets the fable against the backdrop of WWI (for those who have read earlier books in the series, it takes place before ‘Phoenix and Ashes’). Susanne Whitestone lives a lonely, but not unloved existence on her father’s estate, in the limbo between gentry and servants. Her father has all but disowned her, due to grief at the death of his wife in childbirth, but the staff of the household do their best for her. Eventually, he finally takes an interest in his abandoned child. Unfortunately for Susanne, what she doesn’t realize is that Richard Whitestone happens to be a powerful necromancer and his plans for her have nothing to do with fatherly affection …

Another great entry to the series. WWI England is brought back, in both the charm of country life, and the frustrations of the class system. Susanne isn’t necessarily the strongest of Lackey’s protagonists, but she has both her strengths (in serving as a nurse in the trenches) and her foibles (fangirling over her neighbor). Recurring characters include Peter Scott, Dr. Maya, and Peter Almsley, who plays an important role in the plot. Also remarkable for featuring Lord Alderscroft actually fighting, instead of just sitting in the back room of the Exeter club. Worth the time to read.