First published in Great Britain 1995.
I think one of the things I like most about Rusch's writing is the weird ideas. She can create a whole alien society and reveal it bit by bit.
The Fey are ruthless conquerors. They've taken over an entire continent and are moving on South - the next stop is the Blue Isle. The Fey are unstoppable; their magical powers make them impossible to resist. The Foot Soldiers kill by torture; the Warders use the fresh remains of their work to weave new spells. Shape Shifters and Doppelgängers are other valued members of the Fey Army. Only the tall, strong, beautiful Infantry and the stunted, despised Red Caps have no magic.
The Black King's son, Rugar, commands the attacking force, using his Visions to help him manipulate the future. Rugar's daughter, Jewel, hasn't grown into her Visionary power yet, so serves as a soldier in the Infantry. However, unknown to her father, Jewel has had a Vision of Blue Isle, though its true meaning is obscured.
Initially seeming like an easy target, the people of the Blue Isle have no magic. However, their religious rituals soon provide them with a potent weapon against the Fey, and the war drags on. The Black King has abandoned his son and granddaughter in order to consolidate the rest of his Empire, and Jewel eventually realises that it is up to her to find a solution.
This is the first in a series, and I'm very much looking forward to reading the others! According to Rusch's home page, there are currently three in the series, with the fourth due out this May (1998), and the fifth due next year.4 April 1998
See also the writeup of The Fey : Sacrifice on Rusch's own homepage.
Other books I've read by Kristine Kathryn Rusch are Alien Influences, The Fey : Changeling, The Fey : Rival, and Heart Readers.