This is the first in a three part prequel to The Commander, and the Den Asaan Rautu. If you haven't already read that book, you should--absolutely fabulous. Check out my review.
Read this book when by yourself, because once you start--any distractions will annoy you. I started reading Khantara and didn't stop until I'd finished, I didn't want to stop reading. I wanted to know the answer to the big question: What happens next?
The countries Thellis and Haanta have been at war for centuries. Military forces from Thellis attack Mharvholan, the Haanta judiciary island, but are defeated. In retaliation Haanta military forces attack and ultimately occupy the mainland of Thellis.
While out walking, the commander of these forces, literally a gentle giant comes upon a man and a woman fighting. She is begging the man not to leave. The commander watches and soon realizes the woman is often left on her own, often without much food. She is a 'marked one,' though we don't find out exactly why she's marked; she has few rights and is treated unkindly by the people she encounters, while the commander secretly watches.
He is saddened by what he sees. The Commander makes his presence known; he provides her with food, and even takes her to his military headquarters where she is shown kindness and respect. As much as he'd like to take her from the house forever he must remember she is a married woman.
Much of the book is narrative, and that is usually frowned upon but this author is such a talented writer, it works for her. If you want the answer to the big question: What happens next? Read the book, you won't be sorry.