Spellsong Cycle

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The Spellsong Cycle is a fantasy series written by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. Set in the fictional world of Erde, it is notable for its system of magic, based on music and song.

The main character of the first three books of the series is Anna Marshall, a middle-aged music instructor and small-time opera singer who is magically transported from Ames, Iowa to Erde, a fantastical world where songs have a magical power, and where she has the capability to become one of the most powerful sorceresses in the world.[1][2] The following books center around the actions of Secca, her adopted daughter twenty years later.[3]

It has been described as "feminist fantasy",[2] and compared favorably against The Saga of Recluce series of novels by Modesitt, his best known works.[4] The system of song-based magic is similar to that seen in the earlier Spellsinger Cycle by Alan Dean Foster.


  • The Soprano Sorceress (1997)

Anna Marshall is transported, angry and confused from her life in Ames, Iowa, to the very different world of Erde. Anna is a music teacher and singer, but on Erde, she has sorceress-potentially, that is as long as she can figure out how to use her ability before other rulers destroy her.

  • The Spellsong War (1998)

Anna is now regent of the kingdom of Defalk in what is basically a feudal society where male rulers are the norm. Lord Jecks and his grandson become the foundation of the regency which some lords both in default and outside object to. Ann finds that Darksong and contact with her daughter back on Earth are fraught with many issues

  • Darksong Rising (1999)

Anna is again subduing rebellious lords and hostile neighbours of Defalk. Anna's attraction to Jecks, and her inner turmoil over her lethal use of magic is also revisited. This volume also wraps up the first part of the Spellsong Cycle arc, with few surprises

  • The Shadow Sorceress (2001)
  • Shadowsinger (2002)


  1. ^ Publishers Weekly. excerpt
  2. ^ a b Kirkus Reviews. 1996. excerpt.
  3. ^ Zaleski, Jeff; Canon, Peter. "THE SHADOW SORCERESS (Book review)." Publishers Weekly 248, no. 22, p. 56. May 28, 2001.
  4. ^ Kirkus Reviews. 1997. excerpt.

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