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The Invisible Ring: A Black Jewels Novel by Anne Bishop
Cover Artist: Larry Rostant
Review by Beth Slater
Roc Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451462060
Date: 03 June 2008 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Returning to the world of the Black Jewels trilogy with a standalone, we are at the slave market with Jared, a ringed pleasure slave who killed his former queen and attempted escape. Believing that this will make others fear him, he is unbelieving when he is purchased by the Gray Lady. Red jeweled himself, he fears few but her jewel is much stronger than his own, and her reputation is fierce – those who cross to her land are never seen again.

After removing the Ring of Obedience, the Gray Lady placed the Invisible Ring on Jared to maintain control of the young Warlord, although Jared could find no sign of the magical reign. He and the other slaves purchased were a ragtag group full of secrets and were quickly finding out that the Gray Lady was truly not the individual she seemed to be. Trekking across the land to keep her people safe instead of going by coach where the Black Widow, Dorothea SaDiablo, could find and kill them, the group bands together to protect their new queen and her territory.

Jared was enslaved before he was able to learn to use his Warlord abilities, so taking the lead of this group was his first time using leadership skills and he is unsure of how his queen will react – but this is just the beginning of many of Jared's new experiences towards his new life under the rule of the Gray Lady. Finding that there are still traditional values being fostered, reawakens something inside of him that he didn't know existed – so now all he has to do is figure out how to get beyond his past to move towards his future.

Bishop will draw you into her world like a spider and never spit you back out – it is like an addiction. I am not a re-reader, but I re-read this book simply because I love her characters and the depth she gives them – along with the mystery she is able to weave around each – leaving you guessing until she's ready to tell you what she wants you to know. It is recommended to read the Black Jewels trilogy for a full understanding of the society, but not necessary.

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