“Shinn is an engaging storyteller who moves believable characters through a fascinating landscape and interesting adventures.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Mystic and Rider
The fire mystic Senneth crosses the country of Gillengaria on a mission for the king, trying to discover if noble marlords from the Twelve Houses are planning an uprising. She is accompanied by the soldiers Justin and Tayse, two King’s Riders who are unswervingly loyal to the crown. Also on the journey are the shape-changers Kirra and Donnal, and a young mystic named Cammon who can practically read minds. It’s soon clear that not only are marlords planning a rebellion, but that they are being aided by Daughters of the Pale Mother, a fanatical religious sect that hates mystics. While Senneth can clearly take care of herself, Tayse finds himself unable to stop watching her—determined both to protect her and to uncover her secrets.
Published in hardcover in 2005 and mass market paperback in 2006. Nominated for the 2005 Romantic Times Reader’s Choice Award for Best Epic Fantasy.
The thing that most people seemed to find disappointing about the Samaria books was that they didn’t follow the same people through successive storylines, so from the outset I planned the Twelve Houses books as a series about six main characters. I gave Senneth my own headaches just so I could share the pain.
While I was writing this series, I was frequently playing a CD made for me by a friend, which features a collection of “monster ballads.” It occurred to me that many of them could be used as the theme songs for some of these characters. Def Leppard’s “Bringing on the Heartache” always seemed like the song Tayse would be singing to Senneth.
My favorite scene:
The last few pages of the book, the final scene between Tayse and Senneth. It took me forever to complete. I would write a sentence, then fold my hands in my lap. Write another sentence, fold my hands. I got what I was going for, though.