1989’s The Gate of Ivory is the first volume in Doris Egan’s cozy science fantasy, the Gate of Ivory trilogy. Rather unexpectedly, the trilogy consists of exactly three books.
The human inhabitants of the planet Ivory are famous for their amusing delusion that magic works on Ivory. The chance to visit exotic Ivory was too enticing for cultural anthropologist Theodora (Theo) to pass up … although Theo might have been better off if she had turned it down.
Having been rolled by a cunning Ivoran, Theo missed her ship off Ivory. The Athenan ambassador declined to help an ID-less Theo. Having no other option, Theo has spent the two years since her failed flight making a meagre living reading Tarot cards. She is saving her pennies in the hope that one day she will be able to afford the small fortune required to return to Athena and her academic life.
Ivory aristocrat Ran Cormallon has a use for a woman without friends, family, or wealth.