Daw, April 2003, 6.99, 560 pp.
In the mid-eighteenth century, Tyrrhia is a haven for all races and religions including the Romani, who are vested in magic and control the silk trade. Luciana, the Duchessa di Drago, is a powerful mage who knows that her beloved sister died at court before official word came. She learns that a practitioner of the dark arts stole her sister's body and Alessandra's spirit knows no peace because it is used in evil spells.
Luciana needs to find her sister's body and release her spirit so it can pass on. To do so she must locate the wizard who killed her sister and take her revenge on him. When her husband, her one and only love, joins her at the court those who want to replace the present king and queen (Stefano's sister) drag them into regal intrigues, but the plotters are the reason Alessandra was murdered. By thwarting them, Luciana avenges sister and makes sure the Romani have a home. When Luciana tries to find her sister's body on the palace grounds, she faces an enemy she never expected to exist.
The imaginary country of Tyrrhia is situated where Sicily now exists only this kingdom is much larger and stronger than Sicily ever was. The romance of the estranged Duc and Duchessa is pivotal to the story line as the two star-crossed lovers try to find their way back to each other. The religious and racial tolerance that exists in Tyrrhia is another reason for many to want a strong Roman Catholic nation like France or Spain to annex the country. Elizabeth Gilligan has created a fascinating realm that readers will want to revisit in future novels.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner