Authors: Robin McKinley
Series: yes, Damar (x-refer The Hero and the Crown)
Genres: fantasy, young adult, adventure, fiction, romance
Short summary of the story: Harry tries hard to fit in. She appreciates the efforts that her brother had made to bring her to where he lived after their father died, and she appreciates the people with whom she is living. But ... Then the desert, which calls to her, claims her and a new life begins. In it, she realizes there was "a reality to her new life that her old life had lacked". She finds out more about her own heritage -- and that she is, indeed, truly related to the desert peoples. She finds out that she has a form of kelar ... of magic ... and she finds out that there are creatures in the world who wish to destroy the new life that she is just now discovering.
This story, in timeline, follows The Hero and the Crown, but was written prior to The Hero and the Crown. There are great and wonderful tie-ins with the two stories, even though they are, in 'time', many years apart. I would like to live there, in Damar.
Harry Crewe is an orphan girl who comes to live in Damar, the desert country shared by the Homelanders and the secretive, magical Hillfolk. Her life is quiet and ordinary-until the night she is kidnapped by Corlath, the Hillfolk King, who takes her deep into the desert. She does not know the Hillfolk language; she does not know why she has been chosen. But Corlath does. Harry is to be trained in the arts of war until she is a match for any of his men. Does she have the courage to accept her true fate?