|Horseheads Free Library||1||FICTION||Adult Fiction Book|
|Wellsville - David A. Howe Public Library||1||FIC||Adult Fiction Book|
The inventive national bestselling author of the Samaria novels returns with the first book in a stunning new fantasy saga. Award-winning author Sharon Shinn has been hailed as "the most promising and original writer of fantasy to come along since Robin McKinley" by Peter S. Beagle. Now, she weaves a new world wrought with magic and mayhem, in which the fate of a troubled land may rest in the hands of those few who would remain loyal to their king-and each other... In the land of Gillengaria, ill feeling toward magic and those who use it rises to a dangerous level. The king dispatches the Mystic woman Senneth on a journey to see first-hand how dire the situation is. Accompanying her are Shapeshifters and Riders-unlikely allies who will enter a land under the sway of a fanatical cult that would purge Gillengaria of all magic users. They will face death-and worse. And they will come to realize that their only hope of survival lies in standing together, Mystic and Rider, side by side.
Sharon Shinn was born in 1957. She is a novelist who writes combining fantasy, science fiction and romance. She attended and graduated from Northwestern University. She has published more than a dozen novels for adult and young adult readers. She works as a journalist in St. Louis Missouri. She is a frequent attender of science-fiction/ fantasy conventions such as ArmadilloCon26 and Capricorn 29 in 2009. Sharon Shinn donated her archive to the department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University. Sharon Shinn won the William Crawford Award for Achievement in Fantasy and was nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. A journalist who lives in St. Louis, Shinn is also the author of Archangel, Jovah's Angel, The Alleluia Files, Wrapt in Crystal, and The Shape-Changer's Wife. (Bowker Author Biography)
Gillengaria abounds in magic, yet its mystics, the carriers of magic, aren't well regarded. Tolerated in the North by royal order, in the South they're feared, even hated. Lately it appears that organized riders are attacking and murdering mystics. To verify and assess the situation, King Baryn dispatches fire mystic Senneth to the South. With her are foremost King's Rider Tayse; Baryn's shape-changing mystic daughter, Kirra; Kirra's mystic servant, Donnal; scrappy street-urchin-turned-Rider Justin, whose only lost fight was with Tayse; and orphaned Cammon, found serving ale in a tavern, who Senneth suspects is a mystic. They make a tension-filled group, especially because Justin is hostile to mystics and Tayse is uneasy around Senneth. Much of the book concerns their learning to trust and accept one another, and to work together. Pressing deeper into dangerous territory, they hear that the southern king's new, mystic wife has bewitched him, and a moon-goddess cult bent on eradicating mystics is suddenly popular. It's all too clear that, when the 12 ruling houses begin choosing sides, civil war could be the upshot. Clean, elegant prose is, as usual, one of the joys of a Shinn novel, and here it conjures entirely likable major characters and an interesting group-development narrative. Never tripping over the plot twists and complications, Shinn gives us an easy, absorbing, high-quality read sans gratuitous bloodshed and violence. --Paula Luedtke Copyright 2005 Booklist
Publisher's Weekly Review
While not as original as Shinn's popular Archangel trilogy, this first of four in the Twelve Houses series, set in the land of Gillengaria, is tailor-made for the growing audience of fantasy fans who like a good juicy romance. Elderly King Baryn sits on a shaky throne, wed to a strange childless queen, and hides his only heir, a daughter. To investigate rumors that Gillengaria's southern noble houses are plotting revolt and fostering a pogrom against mystics born with supernatural powers, Baryn sends out five diverse individuals: Senneth, a female mystic who commands fire; Kirra, an aristocratic healer and shape-changer; Kirra's shape-shifting servant, Donnal; and Tayse and Justin, two elite King's Riders deeply distrustful of mystics. After rescuing the boy Cammon (an orphan empath) and a raelynx (a savage cat), the party undergoes increasingly perilous adventures while a disturbing attraction between Senneth and Tayse builds into profound and forbidden love. Shinn's spellbinding characterizations, especially that of the hard-bitten Tayse, who loses his heart to the powerful yet vulnerable Senneth, animate this familiar parade of shifting political alliances and disparate adventurers who gradually bond. Shinn's complicated pantheon of gods fallen mostly into disregard, a plethora of unsolved puzzles and ample promise of her characters' lives "changed by love" in future installments make for a rich beginning. Agent, Ethan Ellenberg. (Mar. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal Review
Though mystics and other wielders of magic are feared and mistrusted in Gillengaria, King Baryn has ordered that they be tolerated. When rumors reach him of serious uprisings in the southern parts of his realm-unrest that might threaten his kingdom and his throne-Baryn dispatches Senneth, a powerful mystic, on a journey to discover the extent of the discontent. With her travel two of the King's Riders and a pair of shapechangers, one of them a lady from one of the noble Twelve Houses. The author of the "Samaria" trilogy and Jenna Starborn launches a new fantasy series featuring a world of warring houses and fearful magics. Strong, charismatic male and female protagonists make this an excellent choice for most fantasy collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.