Patricia Briggs has become one of my favorite writers during the past few years, after I discovered her through her wonderful Mercy Thompson series. I am always pleased when I discover that a new favorite author has earlier books to explore, and while Mercy's tales remain my favorites, Briggs is such a good storyteller that I'm perfectly happy to follow her wherever she'd like to take me. This one is the first in a duology set in a world that is recovering from a magical disaster that wizards brought upon themselves years earlier. The survivors now live in wandering family groups like gypsies, and they are meant to combat the remaining dark magic that continues to affect the world. Non-magical folk are suspicious of them, burning them as witches and persecuting them in other ways. This book focuses on a traveler who falls in love with a soldier returning from war, and settles down among a human community. But she and her husband - as well as their children - become caught up in a plot that threatens the kingdom. The characters are simply wonderful, and the story is a delightful, solid fantasy story - nothing less than I'd expect from this author. I'm very much looking forward to the sequel, because I'd hate to say goodbye to these characters after just one book.
Books in the Raven duology:
1. Raven's Shadow
2. Raven's Strike
Raven's Shadow (#1 in the Raven duology) by Patricia Briggs (Ace, 2004)