Bridger's Last Stand
Every Little Thing
Madigan's Wife
Secret Agent Sheik
The Sun Witch

 
The Moon Witch
by Linda Winstead Jones
(Berkley, $6.99, R) 0-425-20129-5
****
Linda Winstead Jones' second title in her trilogy about the three Fyne sisters who are witches tells the story of Juliet Fyne.  The Fyne witches have been cursed for over 300 years.  One of their ancestors spurned the advances of a powerful wizard and he cursed all of the Fyne women.  The curse has meant that any man a Fyne witch falls in love with will either die before he reaches the age of thirty or he will fall out of love with her and leave never to return.

Juliet is the middle sister.  Each of the sisters has a different gift of magic.  Juliet has the ability to see a person's past and future when she touches them. She does not always have this ability to see her own future. The sisters have lived on a mountain protected by magic in a country with warring factions.  In the first book, the youngest sister Sophie married a rebel warrior.  The Emperor learned of the Fyne sisters while Sophie was held in his palace.  When she and her husband escape, he decides to have the other two sisters captured and force them to use their powers to help him.

The Emperor's palace is a long journey from the mountain, so Juliet and the oldest sister, Isadora, are bound and forced to travel through rough conditions with a group of unsavory men.  Part way through the journey, Juliet is captured from the caravan by Ryn, a member of the Anwyn people.  Anwyn men and a few of the women are shape shifters who become wolves at certain times of the year.  They must find wives from other groups of people because Anwyns rarely produce girls.  Anwyn girls are only born occasionally and are destined to become the Queen of the Anwyns.  Anwyn men can scent their future wives and Ryn knows Juliet is his.

This is just the beginning of a journey that allows Juliet to grow and learn many secrets about herself and to learn the wonders of Ryn.  The other sisters are also followed.  Isadora's trials and Sophie's new life as well as the continued machinations of Emperor Sebestyen are all intertwined to continue building to the climax of the trilogy in Isadora's book.  This short description may make it sound complex, but the author does not make it difficult to follow.  She also gives depth to people like the Emperor who is not a nice man, but is shown to have some redeeming qualities.  I can hardly wait to find out how she will resolve all the threads she has created!

I do recommend reading this book but only after you read the first book of the trilogy.  I don't usually recommend books this highly if they are difficult to follow without reading preceding titles, but this series is just to good to miss.  Isadora's story is due out in December and I will be ready.  

--B. Kathy Leitle


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