Sharon Shinn,
(Ace, 2004)

It's a new day in Samaria. Corrupt political alliances have been swept away. Wealth has been redistributed to the poor. And the enslaved Edori have been liberated. But while some things change, others stay the same. In a world where harmony is law and all creatures deemed precious in Jovah's eyes, there are some that still seek to oppress. And wherever power lives, there are still people who will trade anything for a seat at the Angel's table.

Pretty young Elizabeth is tired of the muck of stables and the sound of a thresher. She knows there's more to life than the farm, especially for a young woman with a good face and a willing body. And so she heads to the new angel hold in Cedar Hills with the goal of every Angel-Seeker -- to birth a rare angel baby and live in privilege all the rest of her days. But when Elizabeth learns that the pursuit of power can have deadly costs, she suddenly must question whether living with the angels is worth the price.

In the swirls of social change, Rebekah's life remains the repressed isolation of every Jansai woman. But though her strolls rarely take her beyond her courtyard, her dreams carry her far away from the prison of her father's walls. And when a rare trip to the market puts her in the Angel Obadiah's arms, a new world of passion carries her straight into Elizabeth's unlikely and dangerous path.

With Angel-Seeker, Sharon Shinn heads back to the fascinating territory of her breakout trilogy. She stretches herself well with this book, exploring interesting facets of social life -- such as childbirth, prostitution and slavery -- that few authors of popular fiction dare touch. Fans of Shinn's Samaria books will welcome the return of characters from her much-beloved first novel of Samaria, Archangel, although new readers may feel the former heroine Rachel gets a little too much love here. But since Samaria made Shinn's career, who can blame her for indulging in a little nostalgia on this return trip? With her thoughtful imagination and flair for romance, she certainly gives us enough to make the journey worth our while.

- Rambles
written by Tracie Vida
published 17 October 2004

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