In PALADIN OF SOULS (4.5), Lois McMaster Bujold spins a unique web of fantasy with this sequel to The Curse of Chalion. Ista dy Baocia, dowager royina of Chalion, has been released from the curse that held her prisoner inside herself for 20 years. Lonely, she undertakes a pilgrimage to escape, but it's impossible for Ista to outrun her destiny. With an unlikely cadre of soldiers, an impious priest and a horse-woman turned handmaiden, Ista sets out on a journey that will change the course of her life and the fate of Chalion. The highlight of this book is its deep, believable and sympathetic characters. The plot becomes almost secondary to the mesmerizing Ista, and the minor characters are just as compelling. With its high adventure, sorcery and spirituality, this tale will enchant the most jaded reader. (Oct., 480 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum