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Review: From a High Tower, by Mercedes Lackey

HERB JOHNSON – GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR
Giselle has lived in a tower in her mother’s castle all her life. She doesn’t get out much.
When a handsome stranger appears down below one day and engages her in conversation, she is smitten. She is only 14 and the stranger is a smooth talker. No, she doesn’t let down her hair so he can climb up; she uses a rope.
He climbs up and it turns out he is not a nice stranger. Rape is on his mind and it is only the presence of Giselle’s mother that saves the day. That and Giselle’s ability to call up a major storm as a distraction.
Giselle is an Air Master in training; her mother is an Earth Master. Friends of theirs are Fire and/or Water Masters. They all have powers that enable them to call on “friends” associated with the Four Elements.
There are sylphs and brownies and dwarves and so on, all presented in a straightforward manner. They are simply part of the world Lackey has created, and it’s a good world, except for the handsome stranger and, later on, a bad policeman, both of whom constitute a thread that runs through the entire plot.
Giselle’s mother arranges for two Earth Masters to teach Giselle how to take care of herself and in the process she becomes an expert marksperson. When Giselle is 20 her mother dies and Giselle supports herself winning shooting matches at local fairs, until one day she encounters Captain Cody’s Wild West Show. Doesn’t take long before she is a star in the show and takes to the road with her new “family.”
An Earth Master named Rosamund shows up because it is her job to keep an eye on people travelling through her part of the forest. She and Giselle become friends and, along with the rest of the troupe, have many adventures, including a resolution to the handsome stranger incident.
Lackey has written dozens of Elemental Masters novels. This is her most recent and provides solid evidence that the entire series is worth reading. There is a lot of food in this book. Have a snack before reading it.

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