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Publishers WeeklyWisoker (Secrets of the Sands) returns to the politically charged world of the displaced noblewoman Alyea Peysimun, the sarcastic and enigmatic Deiq, and the self-loathing but honorable desert lord Eredion Sessin. As the tale slowly opens, Alyea has become Lord Alyea through stubbornness, tears, and the loss of her child during the blood trials. Assisted by the near-immortal Deiq, northern born Alyea must navigate the treacherous and bureaucratically constraining politics and culture of the isolated desert nobles, while learning more about her newfound mystical relationship with the ancient ha'reye race. Eredion, on the other hand, must bring Southern values to the theologically and politically antagonistic royal court of the North. Meanwhile the history and goals of the alien ha'reye come to light, and threaten the precarious balance between the Southern and Northern nobility. The story is driven primarily by its relationships, therefore Wisoker's second novel requires a reading of the first. The writing is tighter this time around with short chapters that keep the story from slowing in the heavy exposition and dialogue. A sequel that's better than its lead-though still not quite noteworthy, highlights the potential of a new author of courtly fantasy.
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