Namah, a young woman from the far side of the river, escapes an arranged marriage on her wedding day. After a harrowing pre-dawn ride in a tipsy boat, she meets wonderful magician friends--one of them Namah's older sister who was also a runaway bride. But trouble threatens Namah's magic-filled life on this side of the river.
Count Anton receives a visit from a bureaucrat bearing the unwelcome news of a neighboring king claiming Anton's lands. An invasion force will soon swarm up the river. Anton's people are farmers and craftsmen, not soldiers. And the reclusive underground goblins refuse to help. After years of hateful actions from Anton's people, the goblins have good reasons for leaving the surface dwellers to their fate.
Without goblin fighters, even Namah and her young women friends must help however they can. These king's soldiers terrify Anton's inexperienced fighters, but when the would-be conquerors draw blood from Anton's long-time goblin friend Haghuf, the escalated war is more than Namah, Count Anton, and their unwelcome visitors could ever imagine.
Coming of age stories are a timeless delight, and Demoniac Dance delivers. Namah is a clever untrained magician, but she struggles with pubescent naïveté. Count Anton is also a complex figure of a practical ruler who, ten years after marrying his Countess Ariane and producing a son, has fooled himself for the duration by saying he does not regret marrying the wrong woman. By the end of Demoniac Dance, we see his actions, thoughts, and heart align.
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)