Lines of Succession is about a teenage girl who has to serve as her brother’s regent after an assassin wipes out most of her family. The power behind the assassin is unknown, and she spends a lot of time trying to hold things together in the face of local and international tension and figure out who’s behind the problems.
Set in a Renaissance Europe kind of place, there really aren’t any “sentient alien” type characters, but their griffins get awfully close.
Griffins have the forequarters of a bird of prey and the hindquarters of a lion. In Lines of Succession, the griffins are about horse-sized, so they can fly with a rider. As is common with birds, the females are larger than the males. After all, females usually have to perch on a nest to protect the young and the eggs while males go zipping around looking for food for the family.
Although not quiet sentient, griffins are smart critters. I wrote them as sort of a cross between a parrot and an extremely well-trained dog. Like parrots, they bond to their favorite humans and can become protective.
Male griffins often learn how to talk, at least a few phrases and words, and both males and females whistle tunes and imitate sounds.
One reader asked me if I had a reason for why men tended to have female griffins and women tended to have male griffins. The answer is “Yes, sort of.” Since female griffins are larger, they are reputed to be better for combat, so men with a military bent prefer the female griffins. Male griffins are smaller, and so they’re faster and more maneuverable. They can still be very effective in a battle, though, as Elaina gets to prove in the story.
Elaina’s griffin is named “Tiercel.” There’s a reason for that, and it’s not because I had a parrot named Tiercel at one point. The griffin came first, and the parrot was so named because his facial markings looked a little like a falcon.
Anyway, as I said, there’s a reason why Elaina’s griffin is named Tiercel. Can you figure out what it is? Leave me a note if you can.
There aren’t other non-human races hanging out in Lines of Succession, so next time we jump to Like Herding the Wind.