Loretta C writes with kind words about THE GHOSTS books, but has some questions about Caina’s family. Note that the following answers have spoilers for all six GHOSTS books so far:
Does Caina’s mother Laeria have any family? If so, why don’t they turn up in the books?
Yes. They haven’t turned up in the books yet because they don’t know about Caina and Caina doesn’t know about them. They will be a plot point later on, though.
Caina’s mother was a member of House Scorneus, a noble House powerful in the northeastern Empire. The members of House Scorneus are often powerful magi, and often rise to prominence in both the Magisterium and the magistracies of the eastern Empire, which was why Laeria left them. She wasn’t strong enough to become a full magus, and the Magisterium expelled her before she completed her course of study. That was why Laeria seduced and married Caina’s father, Sebastian Amalas. She thought Sebastian would rise high in the Empire, and could then force the Magisterium to take her back. Sebastian, however, was never interested in politics, and Laeria quickly came to despise him – and the daughter she had with him.
Caina doesn’t know about Laeria’s family, partly because Laeria never talked about them while Caina was a child, partly because Caina detested her mother and never cared enough to find out about her mother’s family, and partly because Caina has never traveled in the northeastern Empire. House Scorneus doesn’t know about Caina, because they didn’t care very much about Laeria, and as far as they know, Sebastian, Laeria, and Caina were all killed by Istarish slavers. (The Empire, of course, has neither Facebook nor Google, so it’s much easier to remain anonymous than in 21st century America.)
But if Caina ever declared herself openly – that she was the Countess Caina Amalas, daughter of the late Count Sebastian Amalas, then House Scorneus would quickly realize who she was. And might find she has some new enemies, or perhaps new friends.
But, you know. Spoilers.
Why didn’t her father divorce her mother if she was so horrible to them both? And why did he marry her in the first place?
Because Sebastian Amalas was, in the end, a man who only took action if he had no other choice left.
If he wanted to divorce Laeria, he would start by first reading what the ancient authors of the Empire had to say on the topic, or historical accounts of noble divorces in the past. He might write a short treatise on the topic. But in the end, he would prefer to ponder and ruminate and let someone else take the initiative. If Laeria had wanted to divorce him, he would have gone along without protest, but Laeria hated her family even more than she hated Sebastian.
In answer to the other question, that is why he married her in the first place, because Laeria seduced him. When they met, he was a.) young, b.) foolish, and c.) Laeria was very attractive. Later he realized his mistake, but again, he tended not to take the initiative.
The one thing that would make him take the initiative is when he thought Caina was threatened, which is why he intervened to keep her away from Laeria, and why he contacted the Ghosts when Laeria became Maglarion’s student. Unfortunately, Sebastian always tended to take the initiative too late.
Why does Caina stay with Corvalis is she is smarter?
Caina is smarter than Corvalis, but that doesn’t trouble either of them. Caina is smarter, though Corvalis is hardly an idiot, even though he did make some questionable decisions. (To paraphrase Albus Dumbledore, being smart simply means you have the opportunity to make bigger mistakes.) As for Corvalis, his relationship with Caina is a bit like Conan of Cimmeria’s relationship with Belit in Robert E. Howard’s QUEEN OF THE BLACK COAST:
Conan agreed. He generally agreed to her plans. Hers was the mind that directed their raids, his the arm that carried out her ideas. It mattered little to him where they sailed or whom they fought, so long as they sailed and fought. He found the life good.
Though Caina is plotting against the enemies of the Emperor rather than planning corsair raids. But the dynamic is basically the same.