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Publisher's Summary

The fire mystic Senneth crosses the country of Gillengaria on a mission for the king, trying to discover if noble marlords from the Twelve Houses are planning an uprising.She is accompanied by the soldiers Justin and Tayse, two King's Riders who are unswervingly loyal to the crown. Also on the journey are the shape-changers Kirra and Donnal, and a young mystic named Cammon who can practically read minds.
It's soon clear that not only are marlords planning a rebellion, but that they are being aided by Daughters of the Pale Mother, a fanatical religious sect that hates mystics. While Senneth can clearly take care of herself, Tayse finds himself unable to stop watching her - determined both to protect her and to uncover her secrets.
BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction by author Sharon Shinn.
House hunting? Download more in The Twelve Houses series.
©2006 Sharon Shinn (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Tailor-made for the growing audience of fantasy fans who like a good juicy romance." (Publishers Weekly)
"Never tripping over the plot twists and complications, Shinn gives us an easy, absorbing, high-quality read sans gratuitous bloodshed and violence." (Booklist)
"Shinn's most successful book." (SF Revue)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Ted on 07-02-09

Light fantasy, heavy romance

I recommend this series, though you should not enter into the series looking for an in-depth fantasy read. The book is much more about romance than fantasy, the overall story is good, but very slow. I purchased all 5 books at once (thanks Audible for the great sale), and was shocked to end the story arc on book 4! Book 5 was after the arc with different main characters and it ended up being a good read as well, so no worries there. Two big caveats:

1) Do not listen the the authors introduction until after you have read the book. Ms. Shinn actually shares with you a lot of what happens in the book, I do not want to know ANYTHING about the story until I start listening to it!

2) Beware the narrator changes: Books 1 & 2 I thought were narrated very well, books 3 & 4 changed gender on the narrator, and while the narrator from books 3&4 is a bit boring, there was not a huge impact. The narrator in book 5 mis-pronounces a couple of main characters names, which is disruptive and she is not as good as the first narrator. Fortunately, book 5 deals primarily with different characters from different points of view.

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38 of 38 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Racheal on 01-28-09

Loved It

Loved it! I finished reading my favorites: david eddings, george r r martin, lois mcmaster bujold, robert jordan...and now i just finished this collection. The first book was definately my favorite but I loved the characters soo much I had to read them all- and loved them all. Action packed, lots of fighting and magic ... fantastic characters with all different personalities, funny dialog and romance . Perfect.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Book addict on 06-07-18

Good concept, but uninspiring story

This concept could have made a fantastic story (and series), but instead it’s a bit uninspiring. The story dragged, the drama was lacklustre, the political intrigue was boring (..not intriguing as you’d hope!) and the romance lacked any chemistry. Distinctly average book.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Caroline on 07-10-18

Great concept, boring focus..

Great narration, awesome concept, but I was thoroughly bored by the writer's obsession with the romantic aspects of the characters. A little bit of romance is fine, but with these books the entire focus of the story is on who is falling in love and all characters neatly pair up with people who are suitably unsuitable.

I saw it as a great waste of potential in an interesting world with a group of fascinating and powerful characters. Would have loved some characters who weren't so stomach churningly mushy and romantic. I struggled to relate to any of them.

These are romance novels with a bit of fantasy, not fantasy novels with a bit of romance.

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