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In Shinn's intrigue-filled third Twelve Houses fantasy (after The Thirteenth House and Mystic and Rider), Justin, one of the elite King's Riders who serve King Baryn of Gillengaria, finds plenty to be concerned about after going undercover as a stableman to learn about threats to Baryn's rule. Noblewoman Coralinda Gisseltess, head of the Lumanen Convent of the Daughters of the Pale Mother (a moon goddess), has begun her own campaign against mystics, preaching that their magic is an abomination to the goddess. Then Justin meets Ellynor Alowa of Lirren, a young novice from the convent, and loses his heart to her. Things get complicated when Ellynor is denounced as a mystic because of her healing abilities. Rescuing Ellynor from being burned at the stake won't be easy, but if Justin succeeds, he'll then have to deal with the taboo against Lirren women marrying outside their clans. Once again Shinn expertly mixes romance with traditional fantasy for a satisfying read. (Oct.)
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Sharon Shinn is a journalist who works for a trade magazine. Her first novel, The Shapechanger's Wife, was selected by Locus as the best first fantasy novel of 1995. She has won the William C. Crawford Award for Outstanding New Fantasy Writer, and was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has lived in the Midwest most of her life. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.