I'm looking for a trilogy (I think it was 3?) of books I read in the 90s. I got them from the library, some I'm not certain how new they were. Here's what I remember:

  • Protagonist was a girl, and played a violin (or possibly viola)
  • Started out in some sort of school - I think it was a conservatory, but I'm not sure.
  • There was magic, and if I remember correctly it was based in music (or at least one form was). Someone new to the school in the beginning of book one got in trouble for knowing this and teaching others (at night in some building nearby/on the grounds). She was new to the school.
  • In the second book (or towards the end of the first?), she was in a forced labor camp on the border of her home country. I think the idea was for these camps to repair the damage from an old magical war. She has a major role in a revolt, since the commander had taken a shine to her (I think it was due to her having an instrument and playing for him/her?)
  • The forced labor revolt sparked a real revolt, or got involved with one.
  • Towards the end of the trilogy, the main character ended up searching out her lover somewhere. I'm 90% sure it was a girl, and I believe it was the girl who got in trouble for teaching them music with magic in book one
  • Possibly something by Mercedes Lackey? She involves music a lot, as well as school/academy-type settings.
    – NiceOrc
    Jan 21, 2013 at 20:47
  • @NiceOrc It wasn't a Valdemar book, and none of the others seem right.
    – thegrinner
    Jan 22, 2013 at 0:39

2 Answers 2


Please look at "Fires of the Faithful" by Naomi Kritzer. (Even though it was published in 2002) Eliana is a violin student at a conservatory and has a female lover. Music carries magic. She does get sent to a camp, and there is a rebellion. "Turning the Storm" is the sequel.


I have not read them, but your description makes me think of L. E. Modesitt's Spellsong Cycle.

Book 1 is The Soprano Sorceress. From the description on Amazon:

"When Anna Marshall is transported from her boring and frustrating life in Ames, Iowa, to the very different world of Erde, she's angry and confused, but soon finds out that for the first time in her life she's uniquely powerful. In Iowa Anna was a music instructor and small-time opera singer, but on Erde her musical ability makes her a big-time sorceress--potentially.

First she must figure out how to use her ability before the big-time rulers who've notices her arrival kill her just because she's an unpredictable new power....Those rulers may wish they hadn't waited as long as they did."

  • Unfortunately, that's not it :(
    – thegrinner
    Jan 21, 2013 at 16:19
  • Wow, two hits for such a specific description.
    – b_jonas
    Mar 25, 2013 at 8:35

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