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The Interpreter's Tale: A Word With Too Many Meanings

by E. M. Epps

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1011,256,605 (3)None
As a linguist and military interpreter, Eliadmaru Faraa has always been a supporting character in other people's stories. And so far, that's been just fine with him: it's words he loves, not swordplay or affairs of state. Now he's been asked for help by the Emperor's nephew. Together, along with an irritating ambassador and a sorceress with a secret and a high sex drive, they aim to save an ailing princess and stop the trade of weapons to the border war. Which is more difficult-not disgracing himself during a touchy negotiation, winning back his boyhood sweetheart, or translating his lovelorn teenage boss's amateur poetry? He'll soon find out.... THE INTERPRETER'S TALE is the only fantasy novel ever told from the perspective of a diplomatic interpreter: a role both ubiquitous and vital in the real world, but thoroughly neglected in both realistic and speculative fiction-until now.… (more)
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This is a complicated, detailed novel. It's relatively slow-paced, and necessarily formal. But I can't say whether I enjoyed it or not. The main character is real and complex and behaves in every sense as an actual person would. The surrounding characters varied from complex down to cardboard. The story was easy to read and held my attention throughout.

It's about an interpreter who is solicited for a risky diplomatic mission by a young royal. They have little hope of getting what they're going to ask for, their company is entirely volunteer and their only bargaining point is that they think they can heal the foreign king's daughter. Our main character is neither hero nor antihero. He ends up having to do all of the translation for both sides of the negotiations, which is evidently a great deal of work and a large responsibility. He is neither recognized nor rewarded for this nor does he think he should be; it's just his job to him.

The other major characters are the sorceress/bodyguard/healer and the ambassador who speaks the foreign language quite poorly. And, oh yes, the interpreter's love interest, the girl he left behind who doesn't want to marry him and who is pining after a married man.

The story follows the negotiations and the love story, but isn't a love story, if you know what I mean. It's simply a solid, well-told tale. I'd rate it higher if I could say I could narrow down how I feel about the book, but I can't.

I received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  deshanya | Feb 24, 2015 |
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As a linguist and military interpreter, Eliadmaru Faraa has always been a supporting character in other people's stories. And so far, that's been just fine with him: it's words he loves, not swordplay or affairs of state. Now he's been asked for help by the Emperor's nephew. Together, along with an irritating ambassador and a sorceress with a secret and a high sex drive, they aim to save an ailing princess and stop the trade of weapons to the border war. Which is more difficult-not disgracing himself during a touchy negotiation, winning back his boyhood sweetheart, or translating his lovelorn teenage boss's amateur poetry? He'll soon find out.... THE INTERPRETER'S TALE is the only fantasy novel ever told from the perspective of a diplomatic interpreter: a role both ubiquitous and vital in the real world, but thoroughly neglected in both realistic and speculative fiction-until now.

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