Suspicion of magic grows in the land of Gillengaria, leading to violent attacks on the magic-users known as Mystics. King Baryn's reign is threatened when rumors circulate that his new wife is a magic-user, so the king sends the powerful Mystic Senneth with his most trusted soldier, the Rider Tayse, on a journey across the countryside to feel out the aristocracy and garner support.

Tayse believes Senneth has too many secrets to be trustworthy. But when they encounter a fanatical cult seeking to wipe out magic altogether, Senneth, Tayse and their companions must put their lives in the hands of those they are most suspicious of—each other.

Shinn excels at strong characterization and enthralling stories, and this first in a new series is no exception. Primary and secondary characters alike jump off the page, and the standard quest fantasy is transformed into a journey of personal discovery for each of the companions. (Apr., 448 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum