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The Shining Court    by Michelle West order for
Shining Court
by Michelle West
Order:  USA  Can
Daw, 1999
* *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

The Shining Court is the third book in the Sun Sword series, though some of its major players - Kallandras, Evayne and Jewel - were introduced as peripheral characters in another pair of West's books, Hunter's Oath and Hunter's Death.

The first book in the Sun Sword series, The Broken Crown, took place entirely in the Dominion of Annagar. Though it portrayed a fascinating male dominated culture, its principal character was Serra Diora di Leonne, a complex and heroic girl who very effectively revenged herself against the leaders of the Dominion (including her father) for the deaths of her fellow wives in a dynastic revolt. The second book, The Uncrowned King, was confined to Averalaan, the capital of the Northern Empire, and was primarily concerned with the last of the Leonnes, the possible future king of the Dominion.

The third book, The Shining Court, returns to the Dominion. Although most of the previous characters reappear, this plot is centered among the tribes of the Voyani, custodians of ancient knowledge. Jewel a'Terafin, the seer, has a major role as has, surprisingly, her bonded servant Avandar. He turns out to be very much more than he seemed. The intrigues of the Shining Court, demonic and human, stretch out a little tediously. Like so many third novels of a series, this one appears to be tying up loose ends, and to mix up my metaphors, opening up new byways for the next two or three volumes.

Nevertheless, Michelle West is very professional and very persuasive; I enjoyed The Shining Court and look forward to the remainder of her Sun Sword series.

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