Looking for the name of a SF or fantasy novel.

I probably read this in the 70's or 80's. Believe was first published post 1960. Could be part of a larger series. My faulty memory keeps trying to tell me the author was a woman - but really not sure...

Basic plot that I can remember: Two main characters (probably human, or close) involved in some type of quest (which takes place on a planetary surface, most likely utilizing some type of non-advanced, animal-type transportation - horses perhaps). One character is a woman who has nobility in her background. The other character is her faithful assistant, a male.

Somehow, I want to say that a major sub-plot involves the woman's gradual realization of the inherent worth and "nobility" of her assistant. I want to say that the two were never lovers, but I'm not sure...

The novel was quite good, rather long (as I recall), and had quite an impact on me during my younger years.

  • This seems a bit vague. The obvious answer is the Morgaine saga (starting with The Gate of Ivrel) by C.J. Cherryh, but there could be many more. – DavidW Mar 22 '19 at 21:08
  • @DavidW, you nailed it! Please submit an answer along these lines. I devoured the first three books in this series about 40 years ago! Still sticks with me... – Digger Mar 22 '19 at 22:15
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    Then you still have Exiles Gate to read! – DavidW Mar 22 '19 at 22:28
  • Addressing the observations wrt "duplicate question": I agree that the associated link does ask the same question as I did. However, said link did not appear in any of my several search attempts. By leaving my current question as is, perhaps a future searcher would have better luck than did I...just a thought. I will, however, in good faith, tinker with the title a bit... – Digger Mar 24 '19 at 17:57
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    Digger, please note that your question being marked as a duplicate does not mean that either it or your asking of it is a problem. Duplicate questions are linked (see top of sidebar at right) to allow sharing of summary information, because, as you note, this can help future searchers. Welcome to the stack! – Otis Mar 25 '19 at 5:07

From the description, the story that leaps to mind is Gate of Ivrel and the following books of the Morgaine saga by C.J. Cherryh.

C.J. Cherryh is a female author, check.

Morgaine is a powerful (not technically aristocratic, but competent, sophisticated and old beyond her apparent years, so able to fake it) woman on a quest to destroy the gate of the title and all others like it.

Nhi Vanye i Chya is a young sub-noble (merely a dai-uyo as I believe he puts it) warrior who is outcast from his family and joins Morgaine on her quest.

Initially Morgaine merely tolerates Nhi Vanye as a local guide, intending to abandon him when she closes the gate. But they are pursued through the gate, cutting him off from his homeland with no way to return, so she keeps him. Eventually (in later books) she trusts and values him enough to entrust her quest to him in the event she should fall.

Gate of Ivrel cover

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  • I was thinking of those books, too. A trilogy in the late 1970s, and then a fourth one in the late 80s where Cherryh finally gave in and let the two of them start having a love affair. (Previously, it had been made pretty darn clear that this wasn't going to happen, and I felt it was a mistake on her part to reverse herself.) – Lorendiac Mar 22 '19 at 22:53
  • @Lorendiac ymmv! I thought it showed that Morgaine now considered Vanye an equal (or at least a partner not an underling) and that Vanye saw himself as a partner. I have a print of the Exile's Gate cover. – mkennedy Mar 23 '19 at 16:43
  • @mkennedy I kinda agree with Lorendiac. Even if Morgaine has come to accept Vanye as a partner, it's still a bit of a betrayal of her absolute commitment to her quest. – DavidW Mar 23 '19 at 17:37

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