Ace, March 2004, 23.95, 480 pp.
The settlers on the planet Samaria designed it so that the population would be divided into two races: mortals and angels. Just by singing the angels can cause the weather to change and have medicines fall down from the sky. In most cases an angel can only mate with a mortal otherwise the chance of birth defects is increased dramatically. For most women the highest honor is to give birth to an angel child and angel seekers flock to where they live in hopes of catching their eye.
Elizabeth, a poor relation in her cousin's home, runs away to Cedar Hills where the angels are constructing a new community. She hopes to catch the eye of an angel, give birth to his child, and live the rest of her life in luxury. Rebekah, a member of the nomadic Jansai tribe, isolated from the males not of her family, stumbles across the injured Obadiah in the desert and nurses him in secret back to health. Although they fall in love, Rebekah refuses to give up her way of life and family for an angel but both she and Elizabeth learn that what they think they want is not really their heart's desire.
For readers who follow the Samaria novels, ANGEL-SEEKER should be read after ARCH ANGEL and before JOVAH'S ANGEL'S. The Jansai will remind readers of gypsy clans crossed with women living in Purdah in the mid-east. There is enough romance in this novel to appeal to fans of this genre without disappointing those who prefer a solid science fiction tale. Sharon Shinn is a talented storyteller who makes world building seems so graceful and easy.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner