On a 12-sided world, bloodthirsty warriors from the Vigaelian side have overrun and conquered the Florengian side. The leader of the city of Celebre has pledged his fealty to the Vigaelians and, as surety of his continued allegiance, his four children have been taken hostage. Fifteen years later, the Doge's health is failing and one of his children is to be installed as a puppet ruler, with the others eliminated.

Told from multiple points of view, this is an engaging and cleverly constructed work of fairly standard quest fantasy. There are many characters, but the ones central to the tale are clearly differentiated -- especially Benard and Fabia, two of the hostage siblings. The world-building is interesting, particularly the many gods and goddesses and how they manifest themselves in the world. The first book of a two-book series, Duncan's novel has plenty of drama and intrigue to carry readers until the second title comes out. (Jun., 368 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs