Of Kings and Griffins (Tesha)

Written by Judith Starkston
Review by Susan McDuffie

Of Kings and Griffins is the third novel in a fantasy series set in Hitolia, a fictional realm based on the Hittite Empire. Tesha, a priestess, and her husband, Hattu, rule a kingdom in the north, part of the Great King’s lands. But the Great King has died. His young son Urhi, an untried teenager, now reigns. Urhi resists Hattu’s attempts at mentorship, and Tesha’s attempts to use magic to ease that relationship boomerang. Meanwhile the griffin king, intent on a mission to save his infant cubs from disaster, magically kidnaps Tesha’s blind sister, Daniti, stealing her away to the far-off land of the griffins. Tribes to the north threaten the empire, and Hattu’s soldiers are attacked by a malevolent curse Tesha cannot successfully combat, while Urhi, despite his inexperience, believes he knows best how to govern.

Prepare to be transported to an ancient realm where vengeful gods speak to mortals, miraculous beasts soar through the sky, and kings, spies, and sorcerers vie for influence and power. Judith Starkston does a fine job of creating a fantasy world thoroughly grounded in the history of the ancient Middle East. The complex and intriguing plot, set in a dramatic world where magic and sorcery affect everyday life, draws the reader in. Readers who enjoy fantasy and royal machinations should enjoy this inventive novel of a magical ancient empire.