as melkorka and brigid travel, they are captured by russian slave traders. melkorka and brigid never speak a word to their captors. through brigid is lost to melkorka, melkorka travels with the slave traders, always remaining silent. this silence gives her a sort of power over the russians and the leader believes that she is magic and allows her a certain amount of freedom she would not otherwise have.
as she adapts to life as a slave she, not surprisingly, changes her views about slavery. she comes to a kind of acceptance about her fate without giving up home that someday she might escape.
i had hoped for a little more closure than this book gave me. there are so many questions unanswered but considering the story it seems appropriate. i was drawn to melkorka's strength. she fiercely clings on to the one thing no one can take from her - no one can make her speak. they can do all kinds of things to her but to use her voice is a choice she continues to make. she manages to remain, inside herself, royalty though to everyone around her she is and always will be a slave.