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Googling "weird camel thing" surprisingly proved fruitless
February 6, 2014 9:26 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to remember the name of a fantasy book I read around 1990 or so. It was written for pre-teens/young adults, took place on another planet, involved a longish journey on some sort of camel-esque creature and the development of a relationship between a trainee warrior-type and some sort of novitiate. Any ideas as to what this book could be?

My memories are sketchy at best. For some reason this showed up in my head a few days ago and despite wracking my brain and Googling unhelpful phrases like “camel but fantasy version of camel journey book,” I am nowhere closer than I was when the thought popped unbidden into my head.

As above, I know that it is a fantasy novel designed for a pre-teen to young adult audience. I would have read it sometime around 1990 or so. I think it was a new release for that time period rather than a reprint, but cannot be certain of that. The details I remember are sketchy at best, and much of what I do remember is so generic fantasy trope that I’m not sure how useful it will be, but the Metafiltariat has had great success before, so here’s hoping.

It involved a group of young warriors charged with escorting a group of some sort of novitiates of I think a vestal virgin variety. Handmaidens to a goddess, that sort of thing. (Maybe they were also healers of some sort? Not sure if that was the case or just me ascribing based on common fantasy tropes of the time.) I think they were taking the new recruits to the mother house in a capital city or something along those lines. Each warrior was paired with a novitiate; our protagonists got matched up and, of course, took an instant dislike to one another—he was brash and callow, she timid and fastidious. The journey took up a fair chunk of the book—around a quarter or so, I think. For some reason, e.g. she was afraid of the animal she had to ride, they had to share the saddle had conversations and grew to respect each other more, blah, blah, blah. I seem to remember the creature being camel-like, but not an actual camel—some sort of fantasy novel version of a camel. The female lead spent a fair amount of time sleeping while completely cocooned in the male lead’s heavy cloak.

They get to the end of their journey and go their separate ways. He becomes a fearsome warrior, she rises through the ranks to become a queen or high priestess or similar despite an inauspicious beginning/skepticism that she had what it takes. Their paths keep crossing and I think she ends up having to sacrifice the relationship due to her position—she’s, of course, the youngest and best queen/high priestess/what-have-you kind of chosen one in centuries and her leadership is needed in troubled times.

As to the cover… I want to say it was a head and shoulders drawing of someone looking “straight to camera” and that person had a thick braid and is possibly wearing a white robe or tunic with a cape of some sort. But I could be totally making that part up.

This is all I remember. Does this sound familiar? Anybody have an idea as to what this book might be?
posted by HonoriaGlossop to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The only thing I can think of that comes close is Sword-Dancer by Jennifer Roberson. There were several books in that series.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:32 PM on February 6


Alas, no. Given the dearth of guesses on this one, I'm guessing I might end up qualifying for a "I stumped Ask Metafilter" badge" for my profile, were such a thing available.

If this is of any additional help, it was a hardcover and the drawing took up the whole cover/there was no border around it. It was also pretty simple--no flaming swords or anything obviously magicky.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 5:42 PM on February 6


It's been many years so my memory is a little hazy, but I'm almost sure you're talking about Sandwriter by Monica Hughes.
posted by la glaneuse at 5:01 PM on February 8


Thanks, but it's not sounding quite right. I think both the leads had more humble backgrounds & the escorted group was a larger number of similar individuals.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 10:38 AM on February 9


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