Keridwen's father raised her to know something about fighting and politics. This was a good thing because she really didn't want to marry some minor prince as would have been expected from someone in her position.
A Spell in the Country by Morgan Smith opens with Keridwen sent into battle as a Troop Captain instead of simple soldier. As we'll see, Keridwen's attitude, training, and luck regularly presents her with such beneficial opportunities.
Early on, Prince Tirais notices her, even though she is much below his station.
“She’s always right,” said Tirais. ... “It’s her most annoying habit. What’s she right about this time?”Later, the important mage Cioren observes:
You really haven’t a particle of [magical] talent, yourself. By the rules, you should be an easy mark. But off the top of my head, I’d say it’s at least partly you yourself… You’re pretty hardheaded, and you focus on the essentials remarkably well. Perhaps magic can’t breach the walls of pure practicality so easily. ... Mind you, I’ve no facts for this, I’m simply guessing.As time goes on, even Keridwen herself is baffled:
I was trying to figure out why, far from being punished for my sins, I was being rewarded.Keridwen's adventure leads her through battles, life at an ancient outpost, palace intrigues in the capital city, and finally to the exciting climatic battle against magical forces of evil at an ancient ruins. Throughout it all, her astute observations of people and her quick thinking in the heat of battle combine to allow her to succeed beyond everyone's expectations.
In between the fight scenes, we see an fantastic vision of the lands of Keraine.
I received a free review copy of this book.