The Second God is a sequel to The Fire Mages’ Daughter, and concludes the story of Drina, Arran and Ly-haam. If you haven’t read the previous book, or if you’d like a reminder of events, this summary covers all the important happenings. The earlier book, The Fire Mages, told the story of Drina’s parents, Kyra and Drei, but it’s not necessary to have read this first.
The Fire Mages’ Daughter:
Kyra’s daughter Drina had never been well. Bathed in excessive magic even before she was born, she was addicted to magic, drawing it into her to keep herself well. Because she was also the daughter of the disgraced fire mage Drei, his wife Yannassia, now the ruler of all Bennamore, was her legal custodian and summoned Drina to the capital, Kingswell, to see if she might be a suitable heir. Drina tried every trick she could think of to persuade Yannassia that she was unsuited to be heir, so that she would be sent home, but nothing worked. Since the magic all around Kingswell kept her healthy, she agreed to stay on and try to be a mage. But again she failed – she could never use magic, since her unique need for it drained it from her spells. Even the seduction of her old childhood friend, Lathran, failed to change Yannassia’s mind.
Drina was sent on a diplomatic mission to Bennamore’s mysterious neighbours, the Blood Clans, to meet their recently discovered living god, Ly-haam. But things went disastrously wrong when Ly-haam’s blood magic was irresistibly drawn to Drina’s need for magic, resulting in a traumatic coupling. Ly-haam’s seed mingled with Drina’s blood gave her a degree of the clanfolk’s ability to bond mentally with beasts – the minds of rats, bears and eagles were open to her, and she learned to fly an eagle. A visit to the magic-drenched Imperial City strengthened her awareness of magic in others – both natural or contained in vessels – and she learned to extract magic whenever she wanted an extra burst of energy.
In return for agreeing to be trained as a possible heir, Drina negotiated a deal with Yannassia – a drusse of her own, her former bodyguard, Arran. He’d been sent away from Kingswell in disgrace, losing his place in the elite corps of the army, but he was happy to return and accept a drusse contract as Drina’s lover. But then she discovered that Arran had married and fathered a child while he was away, keeping it secret from her. She sent him away, although she was miserable and lonely without him.
Since Drina’s diplomatic overtures towards the Blood Clans were unsuccessful, her older half-sister, Zandara, began a war against them in order to harvest the valuable bark from the strange black-bark forests, which grow only on clan land. At first the war went well, but then Ly-haam struck back by kidnapping Drina. Again the force of their opposing magic overwhelmed them, and drew Ly-haam to rape Drina. Horrified, he took her to his island to recover and rest, offering to leave before his magic regrew.
Drina managed to escape on the eagle, reaching the Bennamore army’s forward camp and safety. At Kingswell, she was reunited with Arran, forgiving him his mistakes because she loved him. With a lull in the war, northern neighbours the Icthari proposed a marriage alliance through Drina. But her ability to understand other languages revealed the truth: a plot to kill all three children of the disgraced fire mage, Drei, that is, Drina, Zandara and Axandor, because of Drei’s Icthari heritage.
Yannassia sent assassins to kill the perpetrators, and it appeared that the plot had been foiled. But then Icthari assassins broke into the Keep at Kingswell, and Drina’s life was only saved by Arran’s bravery. Later, an attempt was made to poison her, but again Arran intervened and an investigation revealed that Drina’s sister Zandara was to blame, driven by jealousy. Yannassia ordered her execution, but she took her own life.
Drina was now forced to take on the role of War Leader, and shortly afterwards the forward camp was destroyed and Bennamore itself came under attack by the Blood Clans and their mentally-bonded war-beasts, controlled by the magical power of Ly-haam. At first the Bennamorians drove the clan army back, but they soon regrouped and invaded Bennamore, marching all the way to Kingswell. Neither the Bennamorian army nor the power of their mages could withstand the giant lions and other great beasts now besieging the city.
In desperation, Drina, together with Kyra and Cal, used their combined powers to seek out Ly-haam’s hiding place. Once they were close enough, Drina was able to take all his magic and bring the war to an end. At Ly-haam’s trial, Drina decided not to kill him, but to keep him as her prisoner and husband, so that she could control his power by withdrawing his magic as it regenerated, and that would also assuage her need for constant infusions of magic. Drina, Arran and Ly cautiously began their life together.