A Dream Walker with legendary power returns from a dream marked by an enemy hand and lost in a trance. Hoping to buy time for her healing, the high priest places her in the care of a cunning protector. As one of the emperor’s famed Golden Daughters, Sairu vows to serve her mistress on a dangerous journey from the emperor’s palace to a remote temple. They are accompanied by an orange cat and a slave boy with unexpected abilities. A dark enemy seeks to eliminate the Dream Walker in Sairu’s care.
Fans of the Tales of Goldstone Wood series will recognize the cat as the indomitable faerie poet, Eanrin. His presence adds spunk and humor to this more serious story. Unlike the other Goldstone Wood novels, this one has much more of an Eastern feel. Sairu and her mistress both share more reserved character qualities. Reserved but very deep and definitely complex.
One of the other great surprises in this tale is the thread that bears similarities to the biblical story of Joseph. Stengl does a great job weaving that story into the larger tale without letting it become too predictable or stealing the show from the other characters and plotlines.
My only complaint as I read this story is that I often found myself wishing for a map. (I own the kindle version, and it does not include one that I could find.) Three kingdoms feature in the telling of Golden Daughter and I often found I had confused two of them. I also wanted to see the path of Sairu’s journey mapped out on the larger story world.
The people of Noorhitam worship the sun and moon personified as deities. The Chhayan people believe their goddess, the moon has forsaken them.
The Song Giver, or Creator rules over all, even the sun and moon goddesses. (In a dream, the moon goddess tells Jovann not to worship her, but instead to worship the Song Giver.) A wood thrush and a Man of light, (Lumil Eliasul, a Jesus-like character) guide Jovann and Sairu through a realm of dreams on a Path.
In each of the Goldstone Wood books, Stengl does an excellent job creating parallels to Christian theology that are not overbearing or which overly interfere with the story.
Sairu comes upon a group of slavers who’ve captured innocent people and cruelly mistreated them. A brief battle ensues. Later a woman is bound and killed by her captors in front of her adult son. A dragon uses his fire to destroy anyone who opposes him.