Angelica is the fourth of Sharon Shinns books about Samaria and it's inhabitants. This story however, is a prequel to the other three books, being set in earlier times than the others. Although these books are not a series and can be read in any order, I would recommend reading the others first.
Samaria is a world populated by the Mandaavi (merchants), Jansaii (crafty, secretive traders), Edori (peaceful nomads), mortals and lastly, angels (lofty and proud). All believe that the original settlers of their world were carried to Samaria in Jovah's own hands from their war torn homeworld. Jovah (their god) forbids technology as it could lead to the development of weapons and therefore war.
The Angels are the intermediaries between man and god. They raise their voices in song to pray for such bounty as medicines, rain, sunshine etc which god then provides. Every twenty years the god appoints a new Archangel, to guide the inhabitants of this land. Jovah also selects a spouse for the new archangel.
In this novel the new archangel is Gaaron (Gabriel Aaron). His bride is to be Susannah, an Edori woman who feels trapped in the angels Eyrie having spent all of her life wandering with her people and she is none too happy at being selected as the new Angelica.
To add to Gaarons troubles, there are problems in his peaceful world. Reports come in about mysterious men who appear and disappear at will and who are destroying whole camps of travellers. With no weapons they are helpless to fight back. While some are arguing for the creation of weapons others are fearful that Jovah's wrath will destroy them if they do develop them.
Sharon Shinn has created a series that is a mixture of romance, fantasy and science fiction. She has managed to produce something different from the usual tales in these genres and for anyone who appreciates something a little different I would highly recommend this.