L. E. Modesitt, Jr. begins a new trilogy in his magical Spellsong Cycle. Anna Marshall, the singer from Earth who became a powerful sorceress, is dead and her mantle of power falls to Secca, sorceress heir and Lady of Flossbend.

With Annas death, various internal and external factions try to wrest control back into male hands, at the same time that preliminary raids begin from neighboring provinces. Secca accepts help from the Matriarch of Nordwei in exchange for protecting the Nordwei fleet from the Sea-Priests. Alcaren, cousin to the Matriarch, becomes Seccas chief guard and perhaps something more in this first test of THE SHADOW SORCERESS.

New alliances and new players keep this series fresh. Mr. Modesitt crafts a tightly-woven tale with ominous overtones that point to a dramatic finale. (Jun., 544 pp., $27.05)

Reviewed by: 
Kelly Rae Cooper