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The Shadow Queen: A Black Jewels Novel by Anne Bishop
Review by Beth Slater
Roc Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451462541
Date: 03 March 2009 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

We return to the world of the Blood – the world where Queens rule and the Princes honor and protect – or they used to. Now the lands are torn asunder. Dena Nehele is now shattered into pieces of what it once was, and Theran Grayhaven – the last of his line – hopes to return his lands to what they used to be when the Gray Lady ruled – when Blood was honorable and the Old Ways ruled. However, there is a large problem with his vision – no one remembers the Old Ways. The corrupt Queens had eliminated almost all who knew or practiced them. Where would they find a Queen willing to rule their broken land and people?

With only 100 Warlord Princes left, Theran calls in his last card – Daemon Sadi. He travels to and finds Daemon, and calls in the favor of his ancestors – and asks for a Queen for his people. Theran is a Warlord Prince, however, and when things do not go the way he plans, well, he's not happy. Saetan and Daemon have decided to take a personal interest in the ways of Grayhaven, as well as Jaenelle. When Theran realizes that he will be under surveillance by these powers; by Blood with Jewel levels this high, his hopes for success plummet – as his Jewel is not nearly as powerful.

Jaenelle knew immediately of a prospect for a Queen for Grayhaven. Lady Cassidy is not from Dena Nehele, but to those involved, it is believed that will be one of her greatest strengths. But the question is will her training in the Old Ways and her mid-level Jewel enable her to lead the people and find the key to restore Dena Nehele? Or will the bitter taste of tainted Blood stay in the mouths of those who can't see beyond what is on the surface?

Anne Bishop does not disappoint. I have not read a book of hers that did not immediately captivate me and draw me immediately back into her world. Brief keys in the front of the books give you reminders as to the Jewel levels and Blood levels, as well as which lands belong to whom, but really, the author weaves her spell so well that you need not reference them often. You begin to wonder if she herself is a Black Widow after a while; her characters seem so real and engaging.

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