Shinn, Sharon. Mystic and Rider. The first in the Twelve Houses series, this novel introduces characters that I look forward to seeing again and again. Gillengaria is troubled by unrest, and King Baryn dispatches a group of five individuals to find out more about the situation: Senneth, a powerful mystic, is the nominal head of the group; Kirra and Donnal are also mystics and shape-shifters; Tayse and Justin are King's Riders whose responsibility is for the safety of the mystics, but who are themselves very distrustful of all forms of magic and mystics. The book opens as Senneth recognizes a serving boy as a mystic and frees him. Cammon, a sensitive, joins this band of uneasy allies as they continue their journey into the southern regions where dissent is greatest.
Lots of adventures and interesting group dynamics as the group discovers that things are even worse than they feared. Mystics are being hunted and murdered and dissent is being fomented by members of one of the Twelve Houses and by the fanatical religious followers of the Pale Lady.
There is a hint of romance that slowly blooms, but for the most part, the adventure and increasing closeness of the team provide the focus of this novel. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Fiction. Fantasy. 2005. 440 pages.
Another review: A Chain of Letters