by Nahoko Uehashi
You don't need to read the first book in this series in order to know what's going on here and I actually think this one is better than the first. Balsa returns to her native Kanbal to see the country she fled when she was 8. She finds out that the man who saved and trained her is thought to be a coward and a traitor and now she's wanted by the king. A plot to destroy the kingdom has been in effect since before Balsa was born and she's forced to save a country she hasn't seen since she was a child. With everyone telling Balsa half-truths and the answers to Kanbal's problems lying beneath the mountains, this turns out to be a great adventure.