For the most part, it was a lonely time. I though I was accustomed to solitude. I'd grown up in the Alban wilderness with only my mother's companionship. But she had been a constant in my life; and later, there had been Cillian, my lost first love, killed in a foolish cattle-raid.I generally enjoy Carey's big huge fantasy bonkbusters, but this one left me with a slightly sour taste in my mouth. Like the previous seven books of the series, it is set in an alternate version of our world, in this case in "Central Asia", "Russia", and "India". Our heroine is seeking her True Love, and is sundered from him by treachery and violence; first she must escape a dismal hardline religious sect, the equivalent of evangelical Orthodox Christians; then she must rescue her lover and defeat the evil sorcerers who have enslaved him. That's all fine; but at the very end, the "Indian" queen who she has befriended (well, more than just befriended) decides to abolish the caste system in her society as a result of our heroine's strong advice. There's something very unfortunate about a character who is, when all's said and done, "British", making "India" change so that it can come closer to "European" norms of civilisation. I felt this was a rare slip from Carey; unless I have missed earlier lapses, I think she is normally more sensitive.
This was the most popular book on LibraryThing that I bought in 2012 and had not yet read. Next on that list is Quantico, by Greg Bear.