Maggie Shayne's gift for melding the mystical and magical into her novels has made her one of the preeminent voices in paranormal romance today. This is an awesome start to a series that promises to be richly textured and powerfully rewarding.
Accused of being witches by a distraught relative, Raven St. James and her mother are condemned to be hanged. Lily St. James tries to save her daughter by offering to confess, but a Witchfinder Priest named Nathaniel Dearborne insists they must die. Dearborne's apprentice Duncan Wallace tries to save the women's lives, but they both die on the gallows.
Hours later a stunned Raven awakens amidst a pile of dead bodies. Why is she still alive? Raven learns from her mothers writings that she is an immortal hereditary witch. Raven was given the gift of immortality because in a previous life she tried to save the life of another witch.
Raven flees England to America to build a new life. She is joined by a witch named Arianna Sinclair who becomes her teacher and friend. Raven learns that there are two kinds of immortal witches: good and evil. The evil gain their immortality by stealing the hearts of other witches.
Duncan Wallace is still haunted by the image of the woman he was unable to save. When he rediscovers her in the New World, he swears that this time they will not be parted. But evil has tracked them both across the sea, for Nathaniel Dearborne is a dark immortal who hunts down others. The epic battle between Raven and Nathaniel will span numerous lifetimes and only one can triumph!
(Dec., 352 pp., $6.99)