Tor, May 2004, 24.95, 400 pp.
In , the Sisterhood of the Blade has methodically thwarted beliefs in the gods and the mythical magical Harshini though some folks quietly believe in the existence of both just not publicly because of dire consequences. The nation has enemies surrounding it because other countries are ruled by others who are faithful to the Gods and believing the Harshini live. Eighteen-year-old R'shiel Tenragen is the daughter of the First Sister of the Blade, haughty demanding Joyhinia. Because of Joyhinia's demands, R'shiel is a postulant studying to become a Sister, but has doubts as she sees the backstabbing jealousies as more common than true loyalty. When R'shiel and her half-brother alienate mommy dearest, they flee for their lives.
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The Gods have tasked the Harshini to do the impossible. The Harshini know that success is not viable yet failure is unacceptable. They need allies and R'shiel would be perfect though she is the daughter of generations of enemies.
The story line is as much a coming of age as it is an epic fantasy adventure to learn the truth about one's heritage mindful of Russia just after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner