Only "The Tale of the Two Swords" by Lynn Kurland

To Weave a Web of Magic - Claire Delacroix, Lynn Kurland, Patricia A. McKillip, Sharon Shinn

Only read "The Tale of Two Swords" (Nine Kingdoms, Book 0.5) by Lynn Kurland

Mehar of Angesand is fleeing from home, running to the palace, looking for help deciphering her mother's book of spells from the king or his mage. Her abrupt departure, leaving her betrothed in the dust, ends up with her having a price on her head and men on her trail. When she finally does arrive at the palace it's to find it in ruins, with just two men, apparently servants, Gil and Alcuin, lingering.

Gil doesn't correct her belief, wanting to be simple Gil - perhaps named after his father's favorite hound - instead of Gilraehan the Fey, Prince of Neroche...King, in fact with his father recently dead. Gil's looking for a bit of peace to figure things out after the devastating defeat his family suffered against Lothar of Wychweald.

When Mehar shows up, Gil begins to wish that he could perhaps choose differently than has been planned for him - no more so than when his intended shows up at the palace after just a few short days of getting to know Mehar.

Having read Star of the Morning before this, I heard about The Tale of the Two Swords extensively, and was ecstatic to see the story (within a story) presented here. It's everything it is promised to be - full of romance, and intrigue, with danger lurking just there. The writing is typical of Lynn Kurland, strong men with courtly manners; women who have more power than they realize and the desire and ability to use it and fantastic banter that makes me grin.

"I suppose," she said pulling back, "that you'll need someone about you to remind you you're merely a man when you begin to take yourself too seriously."

"And you won't?" he asked, cocking his head to one side.

She shook her head. "I am your warp threads, my liege, ever fixed in my affections. Let someone else correct your pattern. My task is to wrap you in peace and comfort, not strip you of it."

*sighs happily*

"I need a sword, Gil. I'll need some way to guard your back. To guard my own if you're guarding our children. I could weave things into it."

He looked at her quietly for a moment or two, then nodded. "As you will, love."