It took me forever to become invested in the story. The main character Cam is the only villager to return home after a war between the Uplanders and the Downlanders. he's a Downlander who owes his life to the Uplander prince who chose to spare him, after lopping off his right arm. The pace of the novel is very slow. It's a study of how war effects everyone, how resilient people can be, how in order to survive you may have to readjust to the new order of things.. The story follows a number of survivors as they rebound after the war changes everything in their world. As I said, it took me awhile to become invested in the story, but by story's end, I was sold.
It is a story of hope. The most tragic story is Cam's. His family and village don't know how to treat him when he returns home, damaged, the sole survivor from his village of a twelve year war. His family wants to protect him, but they end up making him feel useless. It was heartbreaking to read about how painful Cam's return was and how the family was unable to integrate the new Cam back into their homelife. This ultimately sends Cam in search of a place where he can feel at home, needed and respected. His life is complicated by the fact that he feels he owes allegiance to the prince who spared him, even though the prince was the enemy. The story covers about five years (I think) as the various characters settle into their new lives.
(challenge-starts with R)