Queen of the Orcs: King's Property: Queen Of The Orcs by Morgan HowellQueen of the Orcs: King's Property: Queen Of The Orcs by Morgan Howell

Queen of the Orcs: King's Property: Queen Of The Orcs

byMorgan Howell

Mass Market Paperback | July 31, 2007

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Born into hardship, Dar learns to rely on herself alone. When her family betrays her, Dar is conscripted into King Kregant’s army and its brutal campaign to conquer a neighboring country. Now she is bound as a slave to a dreaded regiment of orcs, creatures legendary for their savagery and battle prowess.
Rather than cower, Dar rises to the challenge. She learns the unique culture and language of the orcs, survives treachery from both allies and enemies, and struggles to understand a mystical gift that brings her dark, prophetic visions. As the war escalates–amid nightmarish combat and shattering loss–Dar must seize a single chance at freedom.

“Original and vivid. I was captivated.”
–Nancy Kress, author of Beggars in Spain

Look for Books II and III in the Queen of the Orcs trilogy,

A graduate of Oberlin College and the Rochester Institute of Technology, Morgan Howell is a full-time writer who lives in upstate New York.
Title:Queen of the Orcs: King's Property: Queen Of The OrcsFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 6.88 × 4.15 × 0.88 inPublished:July 31, 2007Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345496507

ISBN - 13:9780345496508

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Truly gripping!! (In the event the Chapters-Indigo website elects to delete my rating, I mention here that I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars/leaves.) This was a truly gripping book. I just couldn't put the darned thing down to do my work! So I certainly recommend this one. Good points: I loved the main character, who was a truly strong female, managing to survive and even make a name for herself in a world where women counted for nothing. The side characters were also very well done. The world building and adventure were, in a word, fascinating. Bad/not so good points: I don't have anything negative to add here. Also, while I can see how other readers might feel that the main character resembled a Mary Sue, I simply didn't agree with this. To my mind, a great many good novels will have at least SOME Mary-Sueish elements -unless we are writing about individuals who wind up being complete failures at everything (which may happen in certain novels, but MANY books don't take this route!). Quite simply, a great many novels will write about individuals who have talents and/or abilities that are above the norm. This will sometimes open them up the the 'Mary Sue'/'Marty Stu' label being used to refer to them, whether appropriately or not. I also can't help but think that the device of author insertion which results in the typical Mary Sue (i.e. a character who is so 'perfect' that they become unbearable to the reader) in the extreme case is also the source of any good story, in that writers always draw on their own experiences and feelings to make a book truly *live*, which is also a more limited form of self insertion. Anyways, putting aside this somewhat philosophical discourse, the point is that it has long seemed to me that having Mary-Sueish elements in a book does not in and of itself make the book bad, or even an unpleasant read. This book did have some Mary-Sue elements, but I didn't find them to be anywhere near unbearable. (Someone stated that the main character learns knife fighting in a few hours, but this is not entirely correct. While she did learn much faster than others and it is mentioned that the speed with which she learned was 'astonishing', it took her longer than a few mere hours!) Finally, I can see that some will read this and see a general attack on men, or a general dislike of men, in the novel. I didn't see this -while many of the men in the novel are brutes, this is nuanced in many respects. These nuances include: (i) that other men are shown to be good people; (ii) it is pointed out the men who behave in such abominable ways represent the dregs of the army (the other units are shown to be more disciplined and do not systematically abuse women as do the men assigned to the unit in which the main character winds up serving); (iii) many of the women are shown to be awful people as well (again, some are good, some are bad, many seem to be situated rather in between good and bad); (iv) the situation in which the women find themselves is not that unrealistic given what is shown of the king the army serves under, as well as his accolytes (=which generally were themselves situated among the dregs of humanity), and an army certainly takes its traditions, rules, and so on from its leaders, good or bad. So I highly recommend this one. Other books I recommend: -Inda, by Sherwood Smith -Transformation, by Carol Berg -Magic's Pawn, by Mercedes Lackey -Path of Fate, by Diana Pharaoh Francis
Date published: 2012-09-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pleasant discovery Kind of strange and sometimes awkward, but overall the trilogy holds its ground and proves to be worth it. Charged with an array of very different emotions and in-between-the-lines.
Date published: 2010-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Start to the Trilogy! King’s Property is first book in Morgan Howell’s Queen of the Orcs trilogy. The novel starts off with Dar, the protagonist, being taken away from her family by a group of soldiers in the king’s army. Dar learns that the soldiers plan to make her serve the orcs who also fight for King Kregant. Dar is fearful at first, but as she learns about the orcs and their culture, she realizes that they respect females far more than the human soldiers do. When one of the army leaders plans to hurt Dar, she turns to the orcs for protection. Initially I picked up this series because I thought it sounded like an original and exciting take on Orcs, but it delivered a lot more than I had expected. Howell has put a lot of thought into developing a rich and complex culture for orcs including spiritual beliefs, language, etiquette, style, traditions, and more. The plot was fast paced, full of surprises, and enthralling. Putting this novel down was impossible because there was so much unique content provided. There were underlying themes of friendship, trust, loyalty, tolerance, and understanding which were explored during the situations that Dar encountered. While this novel provided a great story, there was more to it than just orcs and armies. The settings and events of this novel were described so well that it was easy to forget that it’s fiction. I was genuinely interested in the wellbeing of certain characters. Dar is one of my absolute favorite fantasy novel heroines because she’s tough, smart, and determined even though she doubts herself at times. I enjoyed “seeing” her grow and change throughout the novel, and I think other readers will feel the same. A lot of the secondary characters were very interesting too. I never felt annoyed or overly eager to return to the plot about Dar while reading about the secondary characters because they had just as much to offer as Dar. One of my favorite things about this book is that it features a small glossary of Orcish terms at the back. While the majority of Orcish dialogue in the novel is translated for the reader, I still found it fun to browse through the glossary. King’s Property ended in such a suspenseful manner that I picked up the second book within 30 seconds because I was compelled to find out what happened next. I absolutely recommend this trilogy to anyone looking for some exciting fantasy. Make sure you have the second and third books ready to go because you aren’t going to want to wait to pick up the next one!
Date published: 2009-11-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty good, has potential. This is the first book in the "Queen of the Orcs" Trilogy. It is about a young woman, Dar, who is taken (maybe given is a better word) from her family to go participate in the war. She is branded on her head to ensure her participation. Apon arrival at her new "home" she realizes that she is enlisted to serve the Orcs, as well as the humans. The orcs are portrayed by the people as butal beasts (of course) and as Dar lives her live their true nature and an understanding of their ways is revieled. Yeah i know, same old story: bad thing is actually not that bad. What set this book apart from others is.... well nothing, really. But i would recomend it. It is fast paced, there is adventure and i really loved that way that things were not over dramaticized. Dar, of course, starts siding more with the Orcs that the humans over the course of the book until she is almost one of them. By the title of the series this is obvious, but still it is a great little story. Dar does not do any overly outragous stunts and acceptance is not automatic. The thing i compare this book to is the difference between a story that is told by the first person, or by the 100th. By the 100th retelling it is so over dramatisized that it is hokey and dumb, but this story is not like that. K, sorry about that, that is just how my mind works on paper (computer). I am not doing this book justice by my rambling so i will say this. It will not take you a super long time to read this so sit down and enjoy it for the fun that it is. It is not a best seller, but not everything can be. Enjoy!
Date published: 2009-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT So, this is the first book in a series recommended to me by one of my customers. I had the book for awhile but I just got around to reading it this weekend past. I'm sorry I waited so long to read it, it was fantastic! The story is about a girl/women conscripted to serve in the army as a cook/servant, ect. Let's just say it's not a great place to be a women. She is forced to serve food to a band of orcs who fight with the humans. At first she is afraid of them like everyone else but as she gets to know/befriend on of the orcs she begins to look at them differently. The story moves along so smoothly that I finished the book in couple of days. There were times I coundn't put it down...I think I forgot a couple of meals just so I could keep reading. I absolutely loved the main character, Dar, and her orc friend/protecter Kovoc-mah. This book is for anyone who likes an epic fantasy with an alternative take on the "usual" bad guys. I have started the second book and so far it's as good as the first. I hughly reccommend this book to anyone who likes a strong female protagonist and a story that has all the elements of "epic" fantasy. I abslutely loved it!!!
Date published: 2008-11-20

Read from the Book

OneDar walked alone down a mountain path, bent beneath a load of firewood. The trail she followed hugged steep rocky walls that blocked the morning sun, so the air and ground still held the night’s chill. Nevertheless, she walked barefoot and wore only a tattered, sleeveless shift with a rag to cushion her shoulders. Dar moved quickly to keep warm, but the sound of a distant horse stopped her short. None of her neighbors owned one, nor did anyone in the tiny village beyond the far ridge. Only strangers rode horses, and strangers often brought trouble. Dar listened. When the hoofbeats died away, leaving only the sound of wind in bare branches, she continued homeward and arrived at a hollow devoid of trees. Its stony ground had been prepared for spring planting. At the far side of the hollow lay the only building–a rude hut, built of rocks and roofed with turf. The horse was tied nearby. Dar was considering leaving when her father’s wife emerged from the low building with a rare smile on her face. The older woman called out. “You have visitors.” The smile heightened Dar’s wariness. “What kind of visitors?” Dar’s stepmother didn’t respond, except to smile more broadly. She moved aside, and six armed men stepped from the dark hut followed by the village headman, whose air of self-importance was subdued by the soldiers’ presence. Dar’s father came after him. Last emerged Dar’s two little half sisters, looking frightened. All watched Dar carry her load over to the woodpile. She set it down, then asked her stepmother again, “Thess, who are these men?” “King’s soldiers,” replied Thess. “Why are they here?” “There’s a levy for the army,” said the headman. “Our village must provide two.” “Then they’ve come to the wrong place,” said Dar. “My brothers are dead, and Father’s too old.” “It’s not men they want,” said Thess. “I’m no fighter,” said Dar. Thess laughed humorlessly. “Then you’ve fooled me.” “Not all who serve the king need fight,” said the headman. He turned to one of the soldiers. “She’s the one.” “Father, what’s going on?” asked Dar, already guessing the answer. Her father looked away. “This was his idea,” said the headman. “It’s for the best,” said Dar’s father, his eyes still elsewhere. “Best for her,” said Dar, casting her stepmother a resentful look. “She’ll be pleased enough to have me gone.” “I’ll be glad for some peace,” retorted Thess. “Always the proud one, you.” “Unlike some, who’d tup a man for a space by his fire.” “You’d be a wife, too, if you weren’t so willful.” “She’s best suited for the army,” said the headman. “I’ll determine that,” said the soldier in charge. Though he was the youngest, his helmet and arms were finely made, and his armor was metal, not leather. “Murdant, see if the girl’s fit.” The murdant, a man half again the age of his officer, slowly circled Dar, taking in her sturdy grace. He thought her old to be unmarried, perhaps two dozen winters. Though unkempt, she had pleasant features– large dark eyes, a delicate nose, russet hair, and full lips–making him surmise it was her temperament that had kept her single. As if to confirm this, Dar stood with a defiant expression, fists clenched at her sides. “Show me your teeth,” said the murdant. Though Dar realized the murdant was unlike some suitor who could be scared off by a show of temper, she pressed her lips tightly together. The murdant only grinned, then roughly pinched her cheeks with his thumb and forefinger to force open her jaws. He got a quick glimpse into Dar’s mouth before she struck a blow that he easily warded off. “She’s got her teeth and the rest of her looks sound enough.” “She’ll do,” said the officer. The headman bowed. “Tolum, we always fulfill our duty to the king.” The officer regarded him disdainfully. “This spinster’s no great sacrifice.” Thess entered the hut and returned with a small bundle wrapped in a threadbare cloak. “I’ve gathered your things,” she said, handing them to Dar. The tolum mounted his horse. “March her to our camp and be quick. I’ll be waiting.” Then he rode off. The murdant addressed the other soldiers. “You heard the tolum. Move!” He turned to Dar, who clutched her bundle with a stunned look on her face. He had seen that expression before. Her people have given her up, he thought. She has nowhere to turn. Still, he doubted her defiance was extinguished. “You fixing to give us trouble?” Dar shook her head. “Then come along, we have to catch up with a horse.” Dar turned to bid farewell, but her family had disappeared into the hut. At first, only the tread of the soldiers’ booted feet broke the silence. Dar walked blank-faced among the men, considering what to do. To buy time, she trod as though her feet were tender, hoping to slow the pace. Dar knew the path would pass a steep slope that was covered with loose rock. They won’t expect me to scramble up it barefoot. Dar was certain she could elude the soldiers, whose armor would encumber them, and escape into the heights above. Dar tried to imagine what she would do afterward. I can’t go home. The headman would declare her an outlaw, and Dar was certain no neighbor would risk sheltering her. She would have to go far away, and that was her dilemma. In the highlands, a woman without kin had no rights or protection. To dwell anywhere, she would have to beg some man’s leave, and Dar had no illusions what price would be exacted. She recoiled at the thought. When the soldiers marched past the rock-covered slope, Dar made no escape attempt. Having weighed her options, she chose what seemed the lesser evil–an uncertain fate with the army. The path turned away from the tumbled rocks and headed into a valley. As Dar trudged toward a new life, she thought of the one she was leaving.She would miss her half sisters but little else. Her relations with her father had been strained ever since her mother’s death. This day’s betrayal was only his latest. Life in the stone hut had consisted of hardship, visits from unwanted suitors, and the barbs of a spiteful stepmother. Dar tried to cheer herself with the thought that she was abandoning these afflictions; yet she already suspected they would be replaced by different ones. As the marching warmed the soldiers, their tongues loosened. “Do ye think the tolum will get himself lost?” asked one in an accent foreign to Dar’s ears. “Even he can follow hoofprints,” said a companion. “And his horse has sense,” said another, “even if he lacks it.” “At least he listened to the murdant today,” said the first soldier. “This one came easy enough.” “That’s ’cause she’s like you,” said a soldier with a grin, “worthless.” His companion regarded Dar. “You worthless?” Dar’s face reddened. The soldier leered and answered his own question. “Well, you’re good for one thing.” “Unlike you, Tham,” said the murdant. The others laughed. “At least my mum cried when I marched off,” said Tham. “I saw only dry eyes today.” “Not like yesterday.” “Aye,” said the murdant. “Get one that won’t be missed–that’s what I told the tolum. Hey birdie, will you miss them?” Dar remained silent. “Maybe she’s happy to be gone from that dung heap,” said one of the men. “Sure,” said another. “It’s fun being a soldier.” A soldier laughed. “Especially if you’re a woman.” “I’ve heard no talk of war,” said Dar. “When did it begin?” The murdant grinned. “For sooth, you’ve lived under a rock. Kregant’s been at war since the day he was crowned. Soldiering’s been steady work.” “What’s the king fighting over?” “Whatever he wishes. I just follow orders.” “And what will I be doing?” asked Dar. “Cooking.” “You marched all this way to get a cook?” “The tolum’s commander wanted mountain girls. Said they’re tough.” Dar regarded the murdant and the others. They bore the look of men who lived hard. It would take a strong woman to serve with them, she thought. Yet a glimpse at the murdant’s eyes warned Dar he wasn’t telling all the truth. “How long will I serve?” she asked. “Not long,” said the murdant, his gaze fixed elsewhere. For a while, the route was familiar to Dar. It crossed the valley, climbed the far ridge, and followed it. By noon, they left the ridgeline and descended into a winding valley Dar had never visited. At the lower altitude, the trees had already leafed out. The marchers halted by a stream for a brief meal before moving on. By early afternoon, they reached camp. The tolum paced about the clearing where his horse grazed. Several soldiers stood nearby. One was tending a small fire. A short distance away, a blond-haired woman sat with her back against a tree, facing away from Dar. “You took your time,” said the tolum. “The girl’s barefoot, sir,” said the murdant. “She slowed us down.” “That’s no excuse, Murdant!” The tolum shot Dar an irritated look. “By Karm’s tits! How can you not own shoes?” Then he took the murdant aside, and they talked in low tones. Afterward, the tolum returned his attention to Dar. “Lie on your back.” “Why?” “You don’t question orders,” said the murdant. “Soldiers who do are whipped. Now, lie down.” Dar obeyed. The murdant nodded, and a large soldier walked over, straddled Dar, and sat upon her chest, pinning her arms with his knees. Another soldier grabbed Dar’s ankles. A third knelt down and gripped her head between his knees like a vise. From the corner of her eye, Dar spied another soldier approaching. He bore something in his hand that glowed. She fought to free her arms, but the man on her chest shifted more weight to his knees until the pressure was excruciating. “Don’t struggle,” he said. Dar grew still, and the soldier on her chest eased up a bit. By then, the fourth soldier stood over her, and she could see that the glowing object was a brand. Its end resembled a five-pointed crown outlined in fire. As it came closer to her face, Dar closed her eyes and gritted her teeth. An instant later, she felt a searing pain on her forehead accompanied by the smell of burned flesh. Dar fought against crying out, but failed. The men released her, and she sat up. The pain was intense. The murdant tossed her a water skin. “Pour water on it,” he said. “It helps.” The water eased Dar’s pain just enough so she could control her voice. “I came without resisting. There was no need to do that.” “All women in the orc regiments are branded, lest they run away.” “Orc regiments!” said Dar, her pain momentarily forgotten as she recalled the nightmare tales. “Correct,” said the tolum, “and a branded head bears a bounty. To keep it on your shoulders, you must stick with your regiment.” “What do orcs want with women?” “I have no idea,” said the tolum. “I fight alongside men, not monsters.” “They have women wait on them,” said the murdant. “I’ve seen it often.” “You also told me I’d not serve long,” retorted Dar. “This brand betrays that lie.” “Aye, I spoke false,” said the murdant. “But now that you’re marked, I have no need.” “We’re done here,” said the tolum. “Chain her to the other girl and move out. We must return by the morrow.” A soldier went over to the tree where the woman sat and pulled her to her feet. Then Dar could see that the woman’s ankles and wrists were bound and an iron ring was locked around her neck. Attached to the ring was a long length of heavy chain from which dangled several bells. The soldier removed the woman’s bonds, but not the iron ring. Using the chain, he led her closer to Dar. At the far end of the chain was a second ring, which he locked around Dar’s neck. “You’ll wear this till you reach your regiment.” The chain wasn’t overly burdensome, but Dar saw how it would hinder an escape. The belled links were noisy, and, off the road, they would tangle easily. She approached the stranger at the other end, who appeared several years younger. Dar’s fellow captive was well dressed by highland standards; her clothes were clean and almost new. She also wore shoes. She turned to gaze at Dar. Beneath the angry brand on her forehead, her eyes were red and puffy from weeping. Despite her pain, Dar tried to smile. “I’m Dar.” “Leela,” replied the woman in a nearly inaudible voice. “Move out,” commanded the tolum, who had mounted his horse. He urged his steed forward, setting a brisk pace for the soldiers and women that followed. Dar gathered up the links of chain so it wouldn’t snag on something and so she could walk next to Leela. When they were side by side, she saw tears flowing down Leela’s face. “It’ll be all right,” Dar said. Leela stared ahead, oblivious. Dar gently touched her arm without getting a response. The girl’s face was emptied of every emotion except sorrow. Its desolation made Dar wonder how Leela’s parting differed from her own. The bundle that Thess had prepared was an indication. At lunchtime, Dar had inspected it. Within the worn cloak were a spare undergarment and a shift even more ragged than the one she wore. Dar’s footwear and good shift were missing, as were the beads her mother had given her. Leela’s garments bespoke a loving send-off, one that made Dar both envy and pity her. Soon, the tolum’s pace had Dar panting, and she gave up trying to start a conversation. She trudged along, concerned only with keeping up and her own misfortune.