Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

The basics

Title: Touch of Power


Series: Healer #1

- Touch of Power (2011)
- Scent of Magic (2012)
- Taste of Darkness

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Goodreads Summary:

They destroyed her world. But she's their only hope...

Avry’s power to heal the sick should earn her respect in the plague-torn land of Kazan. Instead she is feared. Her kind are blamed for the horrifying disease that has taken hold of the nation. When Avry uses her forbidden magic to save a dying child, she faces the guillotine. Until a dark, mysterious man rescues her from her prison cell. His people need Avry’s magic to save their dying prince. The very prince who first unleashed the plague on Kazan.

Saving the prince is certain to kill Avry – yet she already faces a violent death. Now she must choose – use her healing touch to show the ultimate mercy or die a martyr to a lost cause?

Read a full summary of Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder below. If you can’t remember what happened in Touch of Power and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

A million times thanks to the ever awesome Ula from Blog of Erised. She is on fire, and an amazing sidekick!

In short

Avry is a healer – a special kind of magician that can heal sick people with taking over their sickness or injury. She heals faster herself but is mortal nevertheless. She was in hiding before she got caught, but a gang of men rescued her. She travelled with them as the last healer alive, to try and heal their friend – Prince Ryne – who suffered from the plague.

At first, she was reluctant because she hated him and because she would die if she took the plague on herself, but when she got close to the men, she decided she will help them. She let herself get caught by Tohon’s men – an army that tried to gather strength over all 15 realms that were now in ruin. She helped his wounded while working on saving Ryne, whom Tohon stole while Ryne was frozen in sickness.

Avry managed to save Ryne with the help of two men that saved her – Kerrick and Loren, and healed him. They escaped but Avry returned to Tohon for some unfinished business. Avry decided she would still try and land a final blow to Tohon before she died. She managed to escape again, but she was sick herself so she was dying. When she left to get eaten by Death Lily as her farewell, she was eaten by a Peace one instead and saved.

What happened in Touch of Power?

  • Avry was on the run for three years because she’s a healer and her profession has been blamed for a disease that spread through the realms and killed around 6 million people.
  • After she healed a baby who was sick, she was chased and caught and sentenced to guillotine the next day. She was saved by a band of men who needed her healing powers.
  • She escaped with the men and they went off into the forest and on a long journey across the realms and mountains to their ‘friend’ whom she was supposed to save. When she learned it was Prince Ryne, she refused to help him, especially since he was a bad man and because he had the plague which meant she would die after healing him.
  • She escaped from the men and fell into the hands of mercenaries. Saved yet again by Kerrick and his gang, they left in faster pace (while she was being punished) but the soldiers caught up to them.
  • After the split, Avry went with Belen, her guard from the gang. But he got wounded and Avry tried to fight them. Kerrick and the rest came to help, killed the mercenaries and helped Avry tend to Belen. She tried to heal Belen and nearly died herself.
  • Melina, the girl helping save Avry, was kidnapped and the gang sets out to save her along with Avry. After rescuing her and two others, Avry and Kerrick had to hide in the cabin from some travellers coming by but they managed to shoo them away with Kerrick’s forest magic.
  • Travelling further, different mercenaries found their trail again and Avry’s group had to eat cold suppers and sleep during the day to keep from getting caught. After three days they realized they have been led to an abandoned village full of either Peace or Death lilies – there was no way to tell them apart.
  • While they were pushed against the lilies with the other three sides blocked by oncoming mercenaries, they decided to brave the flowers nevertheless.
  • Over half way through the first Death Lily opened her petals and Avry saved Flea – one of the members – and got caught herself. However the plant was kind to Avry, who wasn’t caught the first time, and it let go of her and her companions. They escaped to the forest.
  • After Avry learned another powerful character is chasing them and looking for her, she and Kerrick agreed they should hide. Mercenaries saw them ‘die’ so they left. If they holed up for long enough, the news would travel and all search parties would stop looking.
  • Meanwhile Kerrick was teaching Avry how to walk quietly in the forest and other forest-y things. Kerrick gave Avry a forest test and she passed and sort of graduated.
  • After that she went to the town with Flea to get food and herbs and such and there she found out her sister might be alive and nearby. Early in the morning Kerrick woke her up, they were going to go find the sister, Noelle.
  • They set out to talk to Noelle, with a possibility to save her and get her to the inn where they stayed previously. They found her in her room in the training camp for soldiers. She told Avry that their mother and younger brother have died. Noelle agreed to leave with the gang and also mentioned Kerrick being a prince. Kerrick set out so check for ambushes so they could move on.
  • In the meantime Avry trained more. Kerrick came back but was hiding and checking on the gang until Avry found him. Estrid’s men (the ambush) were leaving the hunt for the gang.
  • They split again, and Kerrick and Avry left to get Noelle. But Noelle set a trap for her sister and Kerrick. She signalled for backup and attacked Avry, saying she wants to kill her because her sister abandoned her. Avry managed to escape but she was pursued. They missed her but Kerrick was caught and tortured. Avry saved him but they were spotted running away. They evaded with Kerrick’s power. After making a shelter, Avry healed Kerrick.
  • Soon they caught up with the rest of the group and they started travelling again, this time by night. They decided to go to Zabin, a city close to the mountains. They decided to hide in the mountains instead of crossing them in winter.
  • Before that they stopped to buy provisions. Avry and Kerrick were chased by the guards and found the path blocked by Jael, a woman the gang knew from before. She used to be Kerrick’s betrothed. Jael was working for Estrid, her mother-in-law and hoped Avry would join them. Avry healed Estrid’s grandchild and later met with Estrid herself. She struck a compromise with Estrid, who wanted Avry to heal her soldiers.
  • Avry worked in the infirmary for two weeks in exchange to let her and the gang leave. They left for the mountains when Jael attacked them, intent on killing them. With Kerrick’s help, Avry managed to block the attack. After they rescued themselves, Flea was dead.
  • The others left and travelled far for the next few days. Then they came to the Healer’s Guild or what remained of it. They looked for an underground room. With a big storm coming, Kerrick left to look for a cave while the others checked out the underground record room they found. Quain found a list of failed remedies for the plague and Belen found a body. It appeared that the dead man was guarding Death Lily seeds that were now missing.
  • They left for another cave to hide from the snow storm. There Avry poured over the crate of notes they brought over. With the rest of the men, they slowly learned more about Kerrick’s life. On third day they emerged from the cave and returned to the guild remains, going back to record’s room. There Avry found that the plague really did happen because of the healers.
  • Avry studied the papers she took with her over the next day until they came to Galee, a town where Avry was an apprentice. Kerrick found a box of Avry’s stuff in the rubble and then they left for the mountains. They found heaps of marauder’s bodies and figured it’s a trap from Tohon, the man chasing them.
  • They decided to pass the mountains by the main “road” and risk dying and being magic-free. On the way Avry decided she will heal Prince Ryne because she felt that was the right thing to do. When they reached the entry to the caves where he was hiding they went down. They found a lot of bodies down there along with Sepp – one of the guard – wounded and Ryne gone. Avry healed Sepp and they left. They decided they will have to split to save Ryne from Tohon. Avry went with Sepp to Tohon’s castle while the rest went back to joining forces with Estrid and cause a distraction.
  • Avry let herself be caught while Sepp wandered off to hide. She was brought before Tohon who treated her very kindly. She agreed to his terms to heal his soldiers and he promised she could get a few days off. She got a nice room and a maid and many new clothes.
  • The next day she took over the infirmary and promised obvious results in five days. In the mean time she also looked for Ryne and found him 12 days after arrival, along with two more frozen bodies. Tohon knew she was snooping around so one day he took her with him to his lab. There he proceeded to poison her with Death Lily toxin.
  • After she woke up, he took her to a party. When she was out in the garden, Kerrick found her. They detailed some plans to rescue Ryne before Tohon found her again. When Tohon was busy with Estrid’s advances, Avry was exploring the castle and managed to come to his lab again. She found locked-away children with injected toxin. He was experimenting, trying to make new healers. In the infirmary, Avry found out how Tohon was creating the walking dead. After four days Tohon announced he will leave for a week.
  • In the evening of the day Tohon left, Sepp came into the infirmary office to talk escape details with Avry. But Sepp turned on Avry. He was working with Tohon for a long time. They set a trap for Kerrick to get caught as well as woke Ryne from the stasis so he would die. Avry was imprisoned along with Ryne nearby. Ryne revealed Tohon helped develop the first plague after he worked with the Healers Guild to find a Death Lily antidote.
  • Avry spent her days between infirmary – guarded – and the cell. She was looking for ways to escape while Ryne’s health worsened. One the third day Kerrick and Loren came to the infirmary in disguise. Quain was waiting outside the wall and Belen kept leading sneak attacks. They were the ones escorting Avry back to the cell in new uniforms. They took out all the guards down at the cells. They managed to escape, but when the soldiers noticed them, they hid among the lilies. Kerrick camouflaged them and Avry healed Ryne. The men climbed over the wall and Avry returned to Tohon waiting.

How did it end?

Tohon was mad Avry healed Ryne but decided not to kill her because that would be a kindness since she suffered from the plague now. He told her she still needs to help the wounded until she’s able, and teach the staff for the times she’ll be gone. Avry decided she would still try and land a final blow to Tohon before she died. She decided to save two of the kids that survived the toxin. They left for Death Lily garden where lilies helped them. The lilies told Avry how to kill them because the plants wanted to die. When they climbed over the wall, Tohon and Sepp caught the kids. While she distracted them with juggling, Kerrick sent vines to wrap around two men and their guard. Then she threw the stones.

One flew in Tohon’s face and another in Sepp’s. The kids ran. Loren, Quain, Ryne and Kerrick joined the fight. Tohon and Sepp managed to escape and the rest of the gang left as well. They took refuge in a cave and Avry’s health worsened. The kids left with the men and Kerrick stayed with Avry in the cave for her final days. On day five Avry entered the last stage of the plague. She told Kerrick which of her belongings to give away to certain friends and sent him to look for a Death Lily. But the Death Lily wouldn’t eat her. When Kerrick came close, she saved him from the second one and got caught again. This lily injected her with a liquid and started hurting Avry badly. It was a Peace Lily that grabbed her and healed her.


Healers – magicians of healing type of magic (others ways of magic are earth, water, moon, life etc.)

Magic sniffer – a person without their own magic but one that can detect it in others

Forest magic – Kerrick’s magic, becoming one with the forest; different from earth magic

Peace and Death Lilies – first ones are healing the plague (a theory) – they leave healthy people alone, but the second ones eat humans (most of the time – it’s a long story)

Realms – 15 realms of the world Avry lives in, now in rumble, being invaded by a few powerful individuals. Tohon tried to unite them under his rule.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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  • Thanks for this, it really helped. I was trying to find a recap of Touch of Power because now I’m onto Scent of Magic and I forgot what Touch of Power was about. It’s been like two years 🙂

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