In an alternate world reminiscent of medieval Italy, the Circle Mages have created a wasteland by their profligate use of magic. In TURNING THE STORM, the people are rebelling against further misuse and fighting for religious freedom.

The mesmerizing sequel to new writer Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful features Eliana, the teenaged violinist turned rebel general, leading her army to destroy slave camps and taking the battle to the Fedeli religious warrior and the Emperor's Circle Mages. Her fight seems hopeless—until runaway mage Mira starts giving Eliana advice.

With panache and dexterity, Ms. Kritzer weaves complex plot threads and feisty characters into a tight story of political and social intrigue. Nebulous loyalties create fluid allegiances that contribute to the Machiavellian quality of the story. (Jan., 384 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kelly Rae Cooper