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I read a series when I was in middle school (about ten years ago). It was a fantasy trilogy. It was set in another world where the country was controlled by multiple ruling families. The main characters were a girl of high noble birth and her half-brother, who her father kept around as a servant because he was illegitimate. For some reason, the girl had to be sent away, so she lived in a small house in the middle of nowhere. I think they ended up leading a revolution or something? There was a scene where the girl was chased up a cliff by wild dogs and she tried to pee at them?

I think the families each had symbols. They were all animals. Leading into one of the important chambers, the animal statues were lined up in order of how the king favored the family

It was most probably YA.

The author's last name would have been fairly early in the alphabet. In my library, it was under Piers Anthony but before Marion Zimmer Bradley.

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  • Can you remember any other details?
    – Adamant
    May 17, 2016 at 5:06
  • I think the families each had symbols. They were all animals. Leading into one of the important chambers, the animal statues were lined up in order of how the king favored the family. May 17, 2016 at 5:09
  • Thanks! Please edit that and any other info you can remember into your question: story-identification questions are notoriously hard.
    – Adamant
    May 17, 2016 at 5:10
  • Did that! Thanks for your help! May 17, 2016 at 5:11
  • You say this is a fantasy trilogy, can you remember any of the fantasy elements of the story? What you've added so far could just be historical fiction.
    – user22478
    May 18, 2016 at 10:09

1 Answer 1

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This sounds like the first volume of Hilari Bell's Farsala trilogy. It was titled Flame, when it came out in 2003, but at some point was reissued as Fall of a Kingdom.

The story starts with the kingdom of Farsala facing invasion by the Hrum. I thought Farsala resembled Egypt when it was ruled by the Mamluks: dangerous warriors, but almost incapable of cooperating, and more importantly—even worse at inspiring loyalty among the lower classes. For their part, the Hrum almost define organization.

The sibling's father is the Farsalan general, and the son is more or less his squire. The Hrum win the battle, the general dies (by treachery!) and the son goes in search of the half-sister, who had been sent to join a desert tribe for safety's sake, and is put to work for the first time in her entitled life (on the other hand, she discovers she has 'powers').

In the mean time, the young man who betrayed the Farsalan army (for good reasons) is discovering that the Hrum are just a different kind of jerk. I believe that's about where the first volume ends. I thought it was an excellent trilogy.

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