Royal Exile was written by Fiona McIntosh and published in Great Britain by Voyager in 2008. It was also published in the US in 2009 by Harper Voyager. It is the first book in a three-book series named The Valisar Trilogy.
Loethar, an ambitious and bloodthirsty ruler from the Stepps leads an army to take over the Kingdom of Penraven, which is ruled by King Brennus, the 9th Valisar king. But Loethar is after more than the kingdom and he believes the Valisar line is in possession of the power of Coercion which makes them able to compel anyone to do anything. Though King Brennus does not have the power, he knows that only a female Valisar heir can posses it. As Brennus' queen Iselda brings forth the female heir, Brennus hatches a plan to save the baby along with his son, Leo from Loethar and the death he surely brings the heirs of the Valisar throne.
Loethar takes over the Valisar kingdom and murders King Brennus and Queen Iselda but by this time, Gavriel DeVis, the son of Brennus' Legate Regor DeVis, has secreted Leo away and now must keep him safe until he is a man and can take back his father's throne. As Loethar attempts to find the young king, Gavriel and Leo play a dangerous game of cat and mouse while other loyal subjects of the Valisar's are perilously working from within to save the Valisar Kingdom.
I found Royal Exile to be a fine, spirited read with plenty of action, adventure and mayhem. The characters are believable and the scenes are true-to-life. The descriptive passages make the reader feel the fear and sorrow experienced by the characters as the story unfolds and races to the crowning of a king. Although I don't feel that this is a stand-alone novel, I believe that anyone who reads this book will be more than happy to read the remaining two books, the second book in the series being Tyrant's Blood, also published in 2009.
I am giving Royal Exile a 3-spider rating and I hope you will check out this great tale of warriors, magic powers and how a young prince becomes a king. It will be well worth your reading time.