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Naamah's Kiss    by Jacqueline Carey order for
Naamah's Kiss
by Jacqueline Carey
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Naamah's Kiss opens a new cycle in Jacqueline Carey's vastly popular fantasy series. The first three episodes centered on anguissette Phèdre nó Delaunay, who with her Perfect Companion Joscelin, culminated a series of adventures with a quest to save Imriel de la Courcel, the young son of Phèdre's nemesis. The next three books told the story of Imriel's forbidden love for Sidonie, heir to Terre d'Ange - and of his defeat of a powerful sorceror in the name of that love.

Now, Carey pushes back those familiar characters into the mists of history and introduces us to Moirin, young scion of Alba's Maghuin Dhonn. Her tribe - whose guiding spirit is the Brown Bear - used to be one of shapeshifters and magicians, able to see 'all the skeins of the future'. They forfeited those powers after using them to slaughter Imriel's wife Dorelei and his child to prevent a devastating future they had foreseen. Moirin inherits small magics - of concealment and the ability to coax plants to grow - from her Maghuin Dhonn mother Fainche, but has an entirely different inheritance from her unkown father, a D'Angeline priest. It is this inheritance that she explores in Naamah's Kiss.

After losing her first love and being accepted by the great Bear in her people's initiation rite, Moirin journeys to the City of Elua in Terre d'Ange. An accident introduces her to talented physician Raphael de Mereliot, who is the lover of Queen Jehanne and who seeks power in forbidden places. Raphael and his Circle exploit Moirin's abilities, draining her vitality until Jehanne rescues her. Raphael also introduces her to Ch'in physician Lo Feng, who teaches her to breathe and to focus her natural abilities. Lo Feng's surly assistant Bao will be a major force in Moirin's life - he calls her 'stupid girl'.

When Lo Feng is recalled, Moirin accompanies him and Bao to Ch'in, where a sorceror (Lo Feng's son Black Sleeve) has allied with Lord Jiang against the Emperor. A draconian spell has been placed on Emperor Zhu's beloved daughter Snow Tiger and they must accompany her on a perilous quest to White Jade Mountain in order to undo it. Moirin finds and loses love once more. As this first book ends she set out from the Celestial City to the land of the Tatars 'to find the errant half of my soul.' Jacqueline Carey fans will be enthralled by this new young heroine and her exploits around the world. Don't miss Naamah's Kiss!

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