SHIELD OF THE SKY
The Free People always relied on the Aliuri, shapeshifters who inhabit the Shield of the Sky, to ensure the continuation of their matriarchal society. The Chosen of the People mate with the Aliuri, but the warrior Rhenna dared to go up the mountain without being chosen. Consequently, she's endured years of living as an outcast.
When the shapeshifters begin to disappear, and word reaches the People of a new evil, the Stone God, Rhenna knows her destiny is to save those who shunned her. A female shaman, Tahvo, becomes a vital part of Rhenna's quest. Together with Cian, a panther shapeshifter, and the stubborn warrior Qustis, the two women seek the mysterious weapons that will beat back the forces of the Stone God.
There's something for everyone in this novel: a strong fantasy in a world vaguely reminiscent of ancient Greece, a world-spanning adventure and two nicely done romances. Readers familiar only with Krinard's shapeshifter romances will be pleasantly surprised at the depth and breadth of this novel. Character-driven, enhanced by plenty of adventure, it encompasses a far wider scope than a standard romance. (Oct., 400 pp., $12.95)
Jen Talley Exum