The second book of the Outcast Chronicles.

Publication year: 2012
Page count: 509
Format: print
Publisher: Solaris

290 years ago the peace accords were signed between the True-men (whom the T’En call Mieren) and the powerful and long-lived T’Enatuath (whom the humans call the Wyrd). The two races have co-existed in an uneasy peace since then. Sometimes half-bloods (whom the T’En call the Malaunje and the humans call the Wyrd) are born to two True-men parents. According to the accords, the True-men have to give up the half-blood infants to the T’En.

Now, King Charald has broken the accords. His troops have attacked T’En estates and his army besieges the T’En Celestial City. He hates and fears the T’En and is convinced his god, the Warrior, wants him to slaughter them all. He tolerates his half-blooded first born son Sorne only because he thinks that Sorne receives visions from the Warrior. Sorne has realized that his loyalty is wasted on king Charald and has come to sympathized with the T’En. Sorne’s position as King Charald’s adviser is precarious because he is a Malaunje and many of the powerful Barons don’t trust him. Still, Sorne is now actively trying to help the T’En and Malaunje people he comes across and he even tries to warn Imoshen, when possible. However, King Charald is an old man and his health is failing. The Barons are already plotting to secure their own power after the king’s death.

Because King Charald has brought war to the Celestial City, the sisterhoods and brotherhoods of the T’En have to choose a causare, a leader who can negotiate the new accords with the Mieren King. The brotherhoods are always competing against each other for higher stature and even now they can’t unite against a single candidate even though there are nine voting all-fathers to six all-mothers. So, the sisterhoods’ candidate, Imoshen, is elected. Imoshen was raised outside the T’En society and has proven to be very powerful so she has a lot of enemies but fortunately also friends. Causare doesn’t have the power to force anyone to do what she says so Imoshen has to use all of the diplomatic skills and her gift to read other people’s emotions to do her job. At first, King Charald wants the T’En to leave forever from Chalcedonia on ships and the brotherhoods are fiercely against that. Imoshen has to remind them that if they continue to fight, the warriors aren’t the ones who will pay the price but the people on the estates and in the end the Mieren will overwhelm them with sheer numbers. But when Sorne brings word that the king intends to slaughter all of the T’En instead of letting them leave, Imoshen will have to find a way to protect her whole race.

Things inside the brotherhoods aren’t well, either. Tobazim is a young warrior who came to a brotherhood looking for stature and fame. Instead he found a place where the all-father rules with fear and honor has no place in the brotherhood. He and his closest friend will have to be careful and follow orders as well as they can.

In addition to these three, one of the point-of-view characters is King Charald’s high priest, Zabier, who is a tragic character. At a young age, he was thrust into the position of being the Father’s voice, who supposedly saw visions from the god Father. In order to keep his mother and Malaunje sister safe, Zabier had to play along. He had to serve a despotic king before King Charald conquered Chalcedonia and had to do terrible things which he has had to justify to himself. Even though Zabier and Sorne grew up together, Zabier now fears and loathes Sorne because Sorne threatens Zabier’s positions and therefore his family.

Exile also introduces a new family. They don’t live in the Celestial City; in fact the family’s adults were Malaunje lovers who ran away so that they could be together. The Malaunje have five children and their eldest son is a pure T’En whose magical gift is starting to manifest. Unfortunately, there’s no-one to teach him how to control it so the family will have to face a tragic decision: stay and let young Ronnyn’s gift possibly hurt someone or return to the City where the parents will most likely be punished and the family torn apart.

Even though the T’En squabble amongst themselves, most of them want to protect their own and the Malaunje. They also value the lives of their own people more than money or other valuables. When Imoshen realizes that the Mieren might kill her people who are still on the estates, she gives orders to pay for every live T’En and Malaunje who are brought to her. Unfortunately, in their greed the Mieren do atrocities to get as many captives as possible.

The Mieren are shown is a very bad light; there doesn’t seem to be any redeemable characters among them. The vast majority of them seem to be so greedy that they don’t think twice about robbing and killing the Malaunje and are looking forward to looting anything possible from the T’En. They are also rapists and seem to enjoy abusing women. The Mieren women feel like victims to me because they don’t have any legal rights and are so dependent on their abusing men. The queen isn’t exempt. In fact, because she is an important figure, men seem to be more eager to manipulate and abuse her. A word of warning: out of the three female POV characters, two are raped during the book.

The first book on the series, Besieged, was dark in atmosphere but Exile is even darker. The Mieren rape and kill with impunity and families are destroyed because of greed. The plot moved at a relentless pace. Exile covers a much shorter space of time than Besieged because the plot moves quicker.

Exile is an excellent and intense continuation to Besieged. Daniells is once again ruthless to her characters. They have suffered so much that I’m almost hoping for them to get a break in the last book, but that seems unlikely.