Once you grasp the 243 pages of "Born to Exile", you'll probably guess that Phyllis Eisenstein has a different writing philosophy than the authors of today's doorstoppers. Minimalism was her thing. She made every word count. She kept descriptions short. Characters rarely speak more than two or three sentences at a time. Action flies by at a lightning pace. She's trimmed the fat; you won't find any excess words, and thus you won't get bored.
The protagonist is Alaric, a traveling bard, and boy can he travel. Alaric can magically transport between any two points at any time, a useful skill if you're carrying on a covert love affair with a princess or rescuing a witch trapped in a well. His talent isn't without attached danger, however, as the populace fears magical power and even the royals are highly superstitious.
The plot sends Alaric from place to place, encountering different characters and locations in different episodes. Some might even say that "Born to Exile" is more a story collection than a novel. Diverse as they may be, the tales are all held together by the common theme of exile. Wherever he goes, Alaric fails to fit in, and his story becomes a reflection on what it means to be an outcast. Short as it is, this book doesn't carry very much intensity, but it will take you on a pleasant flashback to the days when fantasy was supposed to be thought-provoking and clever as well as fantastic.