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Makra Choria Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Makra Choria combines elements of the traditional fairy tale (good versus evil, use of superhuman powers, and a love story involving the protagonist) with elements of the initiation novel (development of physical prowess, gaining of wisdom, and establishment of ethical values). Initially, the Makralo or ruler of the city of Sherath is Orinath, the father of (Makra) Choria and her older sister (Makra) Theora, who is next in line for the throne (to become Makrala). Although Orinath governs wisely, cruelty and ambition are also hereditary traits of the Makraitis; in fact, Orinath succeeded to the throne when his brother, realizing that he could no longer withstand the temptation to abuse his power, committed suicide. Seeing a similar tendency in the infant Theora, Orinath's wife attempted, but failed, to murder the baby; about a year and a half later, she bore a second daughter and, on her deathbed, urged Orinath to transmit to this child the Gift of the Makraitis. Hoping to curb the excesses already obvious in Theora by age eleven, Orinath sends Choria away to live with his sister Ellida and soon begins Choria's warrior training and her instruction in the family lore. Orinath gives her a bracelet set with blood-red stones, one of which he has secretly removed from the ring which symbolizes his authority.

Shortly after the return of Theora,now nineteen, Orinath is killed by Ellida, who has also been corrupted by the hereditary evil. Ellida, in turn, is beheaded by Choria, the only person who can strike a member of the ruling family and so avenge her father's death. When Theora's tyrannical rule becomes unendurable, Choria leads a rebel force consisting of a few warriors loyal to her father, most notably Bethor, her martial arts instructor. Choria is not yet fully prepared to rule; her forces are defeated, with almost all of her warriors killed and Choria herself severely wounded. Before he dies, Garrier Orinath's trusted lieutenant and Bethor's father conveys her father's message that in such an emergency she must escape to his wilderness lodge, where he has left the necessary provisions and instructions.

Choria's return, in the disguise of a peasant, and her battle with Theora end the first part of the novel. The clash of superhuman powers between the sisters causes an earthquake which destroys the palace. Forcing Theora to accompany her, Choria heads for the mountains along the border with the kingdom of Algonath, and the rehabilitation of Theora begins. Choria destroys Theora's powers and renounces her own, but an inner force continues to guide Choria, leading them to the cabin of Willowill, an old woman who also possesses superhuman powers and who once was an advisor to Orinath. Willowill says The Will, the source of all power, has brought them there so that she can teach Theora the lessons she needs.

After spending the winter with Willowill, Choria feels the inner force compelling her to journey on to Algonath, a neighboring city-state with which Sherath has been at war since an unprovoked invasion by Theora's army, which led to Bethor's enslavement. In the second part of the novel, Choria and a humbled—but still somewhat selfish—Theora rescue a mistreated captive of the Searchers, a guerilla band of Algonath renegades. This captive, who calls herself Pedrada (the Lost One) is actually Petriana, the Lady Mother (dowager queen) of Algonath. Fleeing imprisonment by her grandson, the new ruler, Petriana has been captured by the Searchers and she was once held in the same prison camp as Bethor.

Also given warrior training in her youth, Petriana exemplifies to a large extent the novel's feminine ideal, becoming a role model for both Choria and Theora. Choria thinks Petriana would have made a fine general, and...

(The entire section is 947 words.)