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1. Memory of Fire (The World Gates,
2. The Secret Texts
3. The Wreck of Heaven (The World
4. Gods Old and Dark (The World Gates,
5. Night Echoes (Signet Eclipse)
6. Midnight Rain
7. Talyn: A Novel of Korre
8. Diplomacy of Wolves (The Secret
9. Courage of Falcons (The Secret
10. Holly Lisle's Create A Character
11. Hawkspar: A Novel of Korre
12. The Ruby Key (Moon & Sun)
13. The Silver Door (Moon & Sun)
14. Vincalis the Agitator
15. Holly Lisle's Create A
16. Holly Lisle's Create A
17. Last Girl Dancing
18. Vengeance of Dragons (The Secret
19. Hunting the Corrigans Blood
20. Fire in the Mist

1. Memory of Fire (The World Gates, Book 1)
by Holly Lisle
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (2002-04)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 038081837X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Lauren Dane discovers a doorway to another reality in Cat Creek, North Carolina -- and she crosses over, driven by a strange compulsion she can neither resist nor comprehend. Molly McColl is brought there against her will -- kidnapped from her trailer and carried into a realm that traps her, terrifies her...yet offers her a strange and wondrous escape.

In an extraordinary universe of magic and monsters, two strangers sharing only pain and loss must now pursue the destiny that has united them. Because worlds are suddenly threatened by an evil beyond imagining -- the world they have entered...and the one the have left behind.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

3-0 out of 5 stars Too many storylines
while i loved the premise of this book, the author was a little too ambitious. there were too many storylines and not enough character development. however it was worth reading and i enjoyed up, down, and sideways worlds.

4-0 out of 5 stars A promising beginning
The first book of a series, and it came out of the gate with a bang (no pun intended). Holly Lisle has a very readable style. The characters are well developed and likeable. Yes, that's important, at least to me. I deplore the trend of characters so flawed you'd rather the author just have a hole open at their feet and swallow them up than continue reading about them. This book is nothing like that. The characters are clearly defined, have some intense problems, experience triumphs and setbacks, make and end relationships. Good thought was given to creating a distinctive universe with its various peoples and the laws that govern it. I will buy the next book, and hope to say that the excellence continues.

5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME
This book is awesome!Didn't want to put it down.Totally wanting to read the next one...

5-0 out of 5 stars Impossible to put down
From the moment Molly McColl is dragged from her bed, kicking and fighting, Holly Lisle's Memory of Fire rips along at an incredible pace. We're hauled off to another world that seems like a familiar place but it's very different, with feuding non-human societies, prophecies of doom and a prison shielded in copper. Back in our world, the situation's even worse. The Sentinels, the guardians of the pathways between worlds, are trying to sort out some anomalous trans-world traffic, and the possibility that someone on the inside has betrayed them.

Lisle has created an extraordinary and tightly woven set of worlds and rules, with intriguing constructions like a chain of upworlds and downworlds, threads of causality that seep through, spanning dimensions, that can affect each other, sometimes with subtle results, occasionally you end up with sweeping destruction.

There is nothing I love more in fantasy than an author's inventive use of traditional devices: mirrors that lead to another realm, "gods" that walk among us, ancient jewelry with protective powers. These ideas cross cultures. We understand a mirror as a magical device, but it is the storyteller's genius that turns it into something unconventional. We don't know where it leads, why it was left for us to find, or what happens to us when we touch it or step through it. We're compelled to find out.

Memory of Fire: Simple and splendid, effortless to read, impossible to put down.

I'm sorry to admit that I have not read enough of Holly Lisle's work. I read her blog and have browsed her essays on publishing and writing. I see her books on the shelves. Hey, I'm always keen to correct my faults--just one more step on my journey to being fault-free!

4-0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable and quick read
This book is obviously the first in a series with some faults that most such books suffer from. They did not, however, spoil my enjoyment of this story. I wish Molly Mcoll had been used more, she was in the story quite a bit, but seemed to lack something. The author seems to have preferred her sister, Lauren, over her. We see much deeper into Lauren's life than we ever do Molly's. I found myself disliking the sentinels--too sanctimonious for my liking. Also, the bad guys were glossed over severely. The three rogue sentinels seem to have zero character and zero motivations (except maybe simple greed) for their actions. I just didn't believe in them.

Ah... but the world of the Vodi and Veyar. That worked brilliantly for me. I loved the setting and is one of the big reasons I give this book four stars and not three. The veyar as a people were interesting, the idea of a Copper House to shield the occupants from magic was good. The Vodi's necklace... excellent again. The only thing really wrong with this book was the weak bad guys. They seemed like generic opportunists and were only in the book to give the good guys something to do.

Overall, this was an enjoyable and quick read but it came across as a simple introduction to book two. I am writing this review after finishing The Wreck of Heaven (book2) by the way, so I have the benefit of hindsight, which is 20/20 :¬)

Mark E. Cooper
Warrior Within (ISBN: 0-9545122-0-0) ... Read more

2. The Secret Texts
by Holly Lisle
Kindle Edition: Pages (2001-12-01)
list price: US$8.99
Asin: B000QCTOF4
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Secret Texts trilogy is the story of the deadly fight of smaller and weaker opponents against the enormous forces that wield evil magic in the world of Matrin. Over the course of the three-book series, a magical war threatening the people of an entire world will challenge the ingenuity of our heroes. In 'Courage of Falcons', Danya, Luercas, and their horde move on Ibera. Destruction, devastation, and disaster ensue. When Hardin fails to destroy this new threat, the Calimekkans bring back the few surviving Wolves who know the magic of the dark path. They offer endless sacrifices from their own people in a vain attempt to ward off the approaching evil. Meanwhile Kait and Ry are on the run, trying to figure out a way to create a new Mirror of the Dead that will contain Luercas permanently. Luercas has figured out that Kait and Ry are his main obstacle and begins to search them out to destroy them. Their only hope is to lure Luercas in and trap him in another Mirror of the Dead before he destroys them along with all of Ibera. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Lisle borders on the profound
"The Secret Texts" is actually three seperate novels: "The Diplomacy of Wolves," "The Vengence of Dragons," and "The Courage of Falcons."

"The Diplomacy of Wolves" sets the stage for something very profound; i.e. should we love someone IN SPITE OF their problems, should we love someone BECAUSE OF their problems, or should we just love?

My major complaint about these books is that nothing is explored adequately (for my tastes, at least).Each book is around 300-400 pages in length, but each book could have been 900 pages easily.I feel that Lisle explains the ACTION of the novels quite well, but I don't feel that she explains the MOTIVES of each of her characters in much detail at all.Our heroine, Kait, is explored more thoroughly than anyone else... until you start to question if Kait is really the hero.

Overall, the series is worth reading.But the reader needs to be willing to read it rather strenuously in order to touch upon the better themes in these novels. ... Read more

3. The Wreck of Heaven (The World Gates, Book 2)
by Holly Lisle
Mass Market Paperback: 352 Pages (2003-04-01)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380818388
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

There are doors into other worlds -- and those who cross over are changed forever ...

Two women have discovered the way into a new reality -- one so close to Earth that events there have shattering repercussions here. On Oria -- a wondrous paradise and nightmare both -- Molly McColl has powers she never imagined ... and a destiny that threatens her life, her love, and her soul. While Lauren Dane must use an extraordinary, newfound magic to protect her young son -- and to join with her sister on a quest that will shake the foundations of Heaven itself. For a serpentine evil now threatens the worldchain -- a soulless, immortal enemy who feeds on the death of worlds, and who is now turning its hungry, malevolent gaze on Oria ... and Earth.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars a good yarn
Following well on the heels of book one, Wreck of Heaven wove an even more intricate plot & took some interesting twists and turns along the way. This book encourages me to read more of Holly Lisle's work!

4-0 out of 5 stars Another good one from the author of Memory of Fire
The Wreck of Heaven follows closely on the heels of Holly Lisle's previous book: Memory of Fire. The story begins a day after book one ends with Molly Mcoll, the Vodi, arisen from the dead. Luaren, her sister that she never knew, has returned to Earth with her son Jake and the other sentinels. She grieves for the sister she believes is dead, but a messenger sent from downworld soon has Lauren betraying the sentinels and charging back to her sister's side.

Holly Lisle still seems to prefer Lauren over Molly, as she did in the first book, but this time she abandons the sentinels on Earth where they belong to concentrate on Lauren's relationship with her sister and with Molly's resurrection. Molly is alive, but her soul now resides in heaven--gone to its eternal rest and reward. The reserected Molly believes her life is empty of meaning now that she has died and come back without her soul, but worse that this, she believes she is now kin to the dark gods. The dark gods are evil and they get worse and worse the more times they are killed and resurrected. Molly fears for the future.

And she is right to fear, for one of the dragon-like "Rhon" has a plan to make Molly into a dark god in his image. He will kill Molly over and over bringing her back each time to suffer death anew, until there is nothing of the old Molly Mcoll remaining.

I gave this four stars because I enjoyed reading it. It was fast paced and an easy read, but it suffered from using Lauren's point of view too much. I wanted, and still do want, more about Molly. The sentinels might as well not have been in this book. Pete is given a fairly interesting set of scenes to play, yet they seem to have no relation to the first book and feel redundant to me.

Buy the book, but be aware that this is book 2 of a series. Go into this one expecting loose ends to remain flapping in the breeze.

Mark E. Cooper
Warrior Within (ISBN: 0-9545122-0-0)

4-0 out of 5 stars One Vision
The second book of The World Gates-The Wreck of Heaven-continues the saga of Lauren Dane, Molly McColl, the folks of southeastern North Carolina and Oria. Although not quite as engaging as the first book of the series Memory of Fire, The Wreck of Heaven is excellent enough to keep the reader engaged in the series. By novel's end, the reader definitely is looking forward to the third installment of the series.

As seen in Memory of Fire, Molly McColl dies while saving the life of Lauren Dane's son Jake. Because Molly holds the position of Vodi on Oria, she wears a necklace that magically refuses to allow her to die. Unfortunately, her rebirth brought back a soulless Molly McColl.

The two sisters-Lauren and Molly-begin questing for knowledge on what happened to former Vodi. While they work, dark forces begin working toward the destruction of the two women. Jake, who has never gotten over the death of his father, somehow manages to transport himself to the afterlife in search of his father. Lauren is forced to follow her son in an effort to try to save four souls: her husband's, Jake's, Molly's, and her own.

Meanwhile Pete Stark definitely proves to be more than a mere deputy, the Cat Creek Sentinels begin wondering about Lauren, and dragons surface as book two winds toward a satisfactory finale. Characters, plot, setting, and all the other elements of great fantasy work well in The Wreck of Heaven.

5-0 out of 5 stars Death Can't Keep a Good Woman Down
The Wreck of Heaven is the second novel in the World Gates series, following Memory of Fire. In the previous volume, Molly McColl has died to revive her nephew Jake, her half-sister Lauren Hotchkiss Dane has killed a rron as well as the traitorous Sentinels in Oria, and Sheriff Eric MacAvery and his deputy Pete Stark have killed the Sentinel traitors in Cat Creek. Lauren and Jake are back in Cat Creek, having attended Molly's funeral, and are now trying to recover from all the trauma. Pete and Lauren have been inducted by the survivors into the Cat Creek Sentinel's circle.

In this novel, Jake refuses to go near the big mirror in their hallway and is even unhappy entering the kitchen. He has begun to talk again, but he is much too passive. She has just returned from the store and Pete has dropped by, so Lauren asks him to sit on the stairs with Jake as she puts up the groceries. Pete teases Jake about a story that he had once liked, but now scares him. Pete insists the scary pumpkin is saying that he has a cookie in his tummy and Jake knows that it is really saying "Boo, Boo". They both get the giggles and Jake even lets Pete carry him into the kitchen without protest.

Then Lauren discovers a messenger from Oria in her kitchen and quickly maneuvers Pete out of the house. The messenger states that Molly has returned from the dead through the powers of the Vodi necklace. Lauren quickly makes arrangements to be gone for a while and takes Jake with her to Oria. She finds Molly at Copper House and they start preparing for their roles as planned by their parents. However, Jake is more precocious than expected and manages to open a link leading to his deceased father in the afterlife.

Pete finds a note from Lauren on his kitchen table and decides that she probably used a small gate to deliver it. Although she writes that she is taking Jake to visit his grandparents, Pete notices that she has left her primary keyring with him and, after visiting the house, finds that the car is parked in a shed and that nothing much is missing. He reckons that foul play is unlikely, given the evidence, and that Lauren probably has been called back to Oria. To cover for her, he passes on the note to the other Sentinels and adds a few embellishments.

This novel extends the storyline to explain the difference between the old gods and the dark gods as well as the nature of the disasters that have destroyed worldline after worldline. We also learn something more about the rron and their motivation.

The romance between Molly and Seolar develops and even continues after her death and resurrection, but not without some hard moments. Seolar knows that his duty to the Veyar is primary in his life, but now he begins to realize that, without Molly, his life will not have any joy or satisfaction.

This novel is full of action and excitement. Dangers arise and are handled somehow. Once again, the story focuses on the interpersonal relationships between Molly and Seolar as well as between Lauren and Pete, but not as much so as the previous novel.

One interesting scene is the confrontation between Lauren and the Administrator in the Afterlife. Maybe a bit of catharsis for the author after a bad encounter with bureaucracy. Probably a good thing that she didn't write about Hell.

Recommended for Lisle fans and anyone who else enjoys a new approach to the salvation of the universe plot.

-Arthur W. Jordin

4-0 out of 5 stars Large themes, interesting treatment
In this second book of The World Gates series, Lisle is thematically more ambitious but also more humane than in the first book. The powerful sisters Lauren and Molly are still struggling to save Earth and the rest of the worldchain and discover what their parents planned for them, but they have even tougher challenges to face. Molly saved the life of her sister's toddler Jake at a terrible cost: her soul. A magic necklace resurrects her each time she dies, but she is never the same person when she returns. Should she reject immortality, give up the fight, and seek oblivion? She's not the only one having hard times. Lauren follows Jake to the afterlife, only to be told that she can't take Molly's soul and her dead husband back with her. Lisle doesn't take the pretty, easy way out. By the end of the book, Lauren and Molly have found some answers, but they don't come through their adventures unscathed, and Lisle leaves a lot hanging for the next novel in the series. Parts of the The Wreck of Heaven are gut-wrenching, and it is commendable that Lisle manages to create such an admirable balance of theme and characterization while still moving the plot forward. I look forward to the next installment. ... Read more

4. Gods Old and Dark (The World Gates, Book 3)
by Holly Lisle
Mass Market Paperback: 336 Pages (2004-03)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$1.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380818396
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

The spellbinding conclusion to the magnificent epic of fantastic adventure and worlds within worlds.

Live magic has returned to the Earth -- as the demons of every universe gather to destroy it ...

The World Gates offer passage into countless realms, dimensions, and nightmares, changing forever those few with the courage to cross over. Lauren Dane and Molly McColl, two sisters transformed, now hold the future of all living things in their hands -- for Lauren's mission to bring life-giving magic back to Earth and other dying worlds has not gone unnoticed. And Molly's power to protect her will not hold against the countless ancient evils that are closing in. For the maelstrom is coming to drag down gods and humans alike. And darkness will surely prevail unless a last, desperate stand is made against the dreaded Night Watch, eater of worlds.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars disapointed
the ending of this series was disapointing.more so then some other fantasy series.expecially for one so short.i am glad i read it or else i wouldnt know the end but it felt like the writter scrambled to piece it all together and was possibly rushed to get it out sooner.

4-0 out of 5 stars too short, need more story
I really liked this trilogy.Except...it didn't feel like a trilogy.I was disappointed in how quickly the author wrapped up the story.As soon as I was done with the book I went online to see if there was perhaps another book and I just had missed it.I like my books to be at least twice as long usually.And I REALLY like to have the end of the good/evil battle.This book just didn't tell the whole rest of the story.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Up to Lisle's Standards
Gods Old and Dark, the last novel in fantasy author Holly Lisle's acclaimed World Gates trilogy, wasn't just a book about acolossal battle for the survival of Earth. It was a colossal struggle to finish, as well, as Lisle frantically tried to end the series before page 325.

The novel begins with the Sentinels of Cat Creek, a secret organization to save the world, discovering that Lauren Dane, her sister Molly, and some of their friends are using magic without their permission and drawing the attention of the evil Night Watch. They slowly get sucked into the war between Molly and the dark gods, with Thor (yes, that Thor) as an ally and a chance to become gods themselves. Sounds exciting, right? It's too bad that completing the series with the flair it started with seemed to be the farthest thing from Lisle's mind. From page one, Thor is a deus ex machina, sent to get the Sentinels out of a bind that Lisle hadn't thought through completely. While he does get a (very) little bit of character development, he also consistently saves the day for Lauren and her magic-wielding army, rendering the struggles faced by the characters of the first two novels pointless.

Lisle hurtles from battle to battle and scene to scene with a speed that gives the novel a rushed feel instead of a suspenseful tone, as though she wanted to move on to other, more important projects. Characters are made immortal, taking away suspense; if the reader doesn't fear for the death of a character, it takes half of the fun out of a book. The end, too, is unsatisfying. Loose ends are left behind with the FBI, two of the Sentinels, and the Night Watch, as though Lisle forgot that she wouldn't be returning to the series. The end feels like a sloppy attempt to end a series intended to go on for several more books.

The one major satisfaction in the novel is the redemption of Baanraak, one of the evil Night Watch. While even that is sloppy - Lisle uses a plot device rather than an honest character development - Baanraak and those involved in his part of the plot are the only compelling characters in the story. His eccentric romance with Molly is one of the few pleasures of Gods Old and Dark.

While Lisle's latest novel gives some closure to the World Gates trilogy, it does not live up to the stirring and multifaceted tale begun with The Memory of Fire, nor is it on par with Lisle's other work. The Chicago Sun-Times described Holly Lisle as "an author unlikely to write a sloppy or stupid book." It is this reviewer's hope that this remains Lisle's only attempt to prove them wrong.

3-0 out of 5 stars Keep your facts straight
This book provides a satisfactory conclusion to the World Gates series. The every-day reality is enough like our own that we can believe there really are gates between worlds up, down, forward, backward, and sideways. The heroine is just a bit too perfect. Some annoying inconsistencies from the 1st 2 books have crept in, and the author has not fully thought out the immortality concept that is largely limited to this book. She could have done better.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Conclusion for Now
Gods Old and Dark is the third (and concluding) novel in the World Gates series, following The Wreck of Heaven.In the previous volume, Baanraak starts forcing Holly to die and be reborn so as to shape her personality into the Night Watch pattern.He catches her once without the Vodi necklace and she was almost lost forever.Meanwhile, Lauren finds a secret message in the notebooks and learns that her parents had intended Molly to be her protector while she herself brought magic back to the Earth and to the dead worlds up the line.

In this novel, Molly is busy exterminating Night Watch teams and Lauren is creating conduits for the magic to flow back up the world lines.Aril, the Master of the Night Watch, notices the magic returning to the Earth and messily terminates all his fieldmasters for overlooking this development. He then promotes their assistants to replace them and provides specific instructions for the situation.He also dispatches assassins to track down Lauren and sends his assistant, Rekkathav, to observe the operation.

After Lauren is attacked by the Night Watch during a downworld foray and again within her own home, the Cat Creek Sentinels suddenly notice that Lauren is violating Council policy.A couple of hard-liners want to terminate her activities in a permanent manner, but the rest vote to wait and see.It does help that Lauren has an old god on her side who is capable of great havoc using the new influx of magic.

In this story, Lauren and the Cat Creek Sentinels learn the secret of immortality and the pain thereof.One Sentinel gets her first taste of combat and very nearly goes berserk.The FBI office in Charlotte performs a good service for the Cat Creek Sentinels.And Baanraak is ambushed by Molly and suffers a split personality.

This volume provides a conclusion of sorts, but the story continues past the end of the book.Maybe the author will return to this universe some day, for it has the potential for many other stories.In the meanwhile, we will have a new fantasy to read in 2005: Talyn.

Highly recommended for Lisle fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of high magic, interesting societies and complex relationships.

-Arthur W. Jordin ... Read more

5. Night Echoes (Signet Eclipse)
by Holly Lisle
Paperback: 320 Pages (2007-04-03)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451220943
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Artist Emma Beck returns to her southern hometown to discover the truth about her secret family history. With the help of Mike Ruhl, the contractor she's falling in love with, Emma finds that her legacy is more chilling and unexpected than she ever dreamed. Especially when she starts hearing the whispers late at night. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars A fast read that can be gobbled up quickly...
Emma Beck learns she's adopted after her mother dies. Five years later, her father dies, leaving her a sizable amount of money and an old folder containing information about her birth mother. Emma heads to Benina, South Carolina to learn more and ends up buying a rundown farmhouse. What she's not aware of is the house is haunted and the contractor she's hired is somehow connected to the house. The closer she comes to finding answers about her birth mother and the house she's living in, the closer she is to danger.

NIGHT ECHOES is part paranormal, part romance, and part suspense. Though some might argue this isn't an original ghost story, the author's voice stands out as unique. It's a light, fast read that can be gobbled up quickly.

3-0 out of 5 stars Two major problems knock down a pretty good book
I'd give this book 3 ½ stars if I could. I liked many things about it but there were parts that got on my nerves too.

Night Echoes is the story of Emma Beck, a young artist who has recently bought a strange house in the even stranger town she was originally born in. As she's settling in, she meets handyman Mike Ruhl with whom she feels a compelling connection even though they've never met before. The connection between the two gets even deeper and scarier as odd things begin to haunt the halls of Emma's old home...

On the plus side, this book makes for a quick, easy read. It's got a couple mystery story lines going on but neither of them were pretentious or drawn out and they gave the reader many creepy moments to keep the pages turning. Also, the characters were nice, nothing special, but nothing that got me in a tizzy or anything. I enjoyed it, plain and simple, and that is saying something since Romantic Suspense is not usually my thing.

On the other hand, I found myself annoyed at times. My annoyances came in two parts: 1. Several of the mysteries presented were never solved. Several interesting mysteries, I should say. This annoyed me to no end. 2. The characters have some really weird ideas and values. For example, at one point the hero thinks that men can only wear four colors or else they're not true men. Huh? What? It's not even offensive, it just makes no sense and it is only one example of several.

So overall, a mixed bag. For readers who want a light, interesting ghost story, this will do. Someone who wants something a little more...sense-making, might want to look somewhere else. I wouldn't pay more than a couple bucks for this one either way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
This is the first book I've read straight through in one sitting in a decade. If that's not a recommendation, I don't know what is!

3-0 out of 5 stars Predictable
I read this book in a single sitting.It was light and fun enough for me not to stop, but it was predictable, simple and felt like a hundred other stories I've ever read.There is nothing new to it, nothing surprising or original, and I cannot understand five star reviews.

3-0 out of 5 stars o.k.romantic suspense, but nothing unique
I read this book when I needed to read something simple and easy to follow (I was at a 3-day conference.)I enjoyed it, although I consider it a typical ghost story with no unexpected twists or unusual plot elements.Many questions remain unanswered, such as the woman in the trench coat, and the cat which is only seen by some individuals at some times. Most annoyingly, the characters often make huge leaps of logic which are not logical at all. The characters are likable, however, and the pace of the story keeps it moving. If you are in the mood for a straightforward ghost romance, this is your book.If I could give it 3 and 1/2 stars, I would. ... Read more

6. Midnight Rain
by Holly Lisle
Paperback: 336 Pages (2004-11-02)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451411757
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Phoebe Rain's sadistic ex-husband lies in a coma a thousand miles away-a coma she put him the last time he tried to kill her. Yet Phoebe knows the voice on the other end of the line belongs to the twisted man who vowed he'd never let her get away. Panicked, she turns to her neighbor, Dr. Alan MacKerrie. Alan finds the story hard to believe himself, but now he, too, is receiving chilling, ghostly warnings of danger. Caught between icy terror and mounting passion for Alan, Phoebe knows there's no escape. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

3-0 out of 5 stars Some problems with realism
This is the third book by Lisle that I've read, and the one that I've liked the least. It wasn't bad, exactly. I just had some issues with various aspects of the book.

For one, I didn't think the writing style was as smooth and readable as in the other two books. I just thought at times her wording was awkward and cyclical. And sometimes too simplistic. There just wasn't all that great a flow. But it wasn't awful, only average. Her other books were better written.

But there were two issues that really bothered me about the book. One was, I guess you could call it, Phoebe's emotional scars...or lack thereof, to a certain degree. Her ex-husband was a sexual sadist...or so it seemed. The wording on that was rather vague in the book and you were only given veiled hints as to what the ex did to her. It didn't sound pretty. Yet, it didn't seem like Phoebe had any lingering scars from the sexual sadism. One would have thought she'd be extremely wary of sex - considering he'd been her only lover - or hate certain things, or just be more conscious of what he'd done to her. And I just didn't get that feeling. For a large part of the book, you only get the impression that her ex had physically abused her, not sexually as well. And then when she was intimate with Alan, she wasn't bothered by the frantic pace, or other actions. Basically, I just felt there was a lack of realism with Phoebe because it didn't seem like she dealt at all with being sexually abused, only physically.

The second issue was the lack of a resolution regarding a major "fight" between Alan and Phoebe. He said some really nasty things to her and she was crushed. Then he finds out the truth, but they never talk about it, never resolve what had happened. It was like "oh, oops, I was wrong..la, la, la, la, laaaaa....let's go have sex." Sorry, no, that doesn't work. It just really bothered me. This was a major obstacle between them and it was shoved aside with the flick of a finger.

Aside from those two things, the over all storyline was interesting. The suspense plot and the romance kept me reading. Lisle has a knack for creating interesting suspense plots. I would have liked an epilogue to wrap up all the issues, but *sigh* it seems like a lot of authors hate to do that. Anyway, decent enough book. Worth reading, despite it's issues.

4-0 out of 5 stars good but not great
ok, so the basic story is the heroine is divorced from her ex husband who abused her.she starts getting calls from him again that she can't trace.the odd part is that he is in a coma.

the book was pretty good, but it wasn't as good as some of the others i have read that have a similar theme (woman running from ex) - for example karen rose's book don't tell.that being said, this book was still good.i wasn't so keen on the tarot part of the book and the ghost, not because i don't like paranormal books or because i thought this was an attempt to legitamize the phone psychis or anything like that, but because it felt a little forced to me.it just didn't fit into the story as well as i would have liked.

the only other thing that kind of bothered me - and i freely admit this is just a quirk of mine and is probably a stupid little thing - is that the book didn't go in to what happened to michael's (the abusive ex) family at the end of the book **spoiler**i would think they would have been charged with conspiracy or aiding and abetting or something, and the book just glosses over that.but i know this is a stupid thing, but it still bothered me a little bit.

other than that, this was a good book, that i would recommend, but it wasn't great.the story was decently written, but not great -- basically the theme for the book.at the very least, check it out from the library if you need a book to read :)also, if you read and liked this book, or even liked the general plot but not this book so much, try don't tell by karen rose

4-0 out of 5 stars A chiller with a touch of the supernatural
Phoebe Rain is a woman with a past - a terrifying past of being trapped in an abusive marriage. When she manages to escape her husband, Michael, and forges a new life as a school teacher she thinks she's safe. Then he finds her one day and shoots two of the children in her class before she manages to attack him, knock him out (causing him to fall into a coma) although she's badly injured herself by his shotgun blast.

We meet Phoebe in this book as she tries to rebuild her life two years after the classroom attack. Her husband Michael is still in a coma, her life has disappeared to almost nothing as she feels responsible for the deaths of the two schoolchildren. She makes a living by doing telephone tarot readings but is constantly frightened that one day Michael will wake up and come back after her.

And then it appears that he has done just that - who is it who is telephoning her? And why does she have strange nightmares now? Why do things in her house move? And what is the ghost of a child that she is seeing? She finds herself getting to know her next door neighbour, Alan MacKerrie, a widowed doctor whose daughter died five years ago - and whose ghost is appearing to Phoebe.

This book is full of suspense - is Michael alive? Is it him to blame for the phone calls? How does he know everything Phoebe is doing? Alan the neighbour vacillates between trusting Phoebe and wondering if she's a bit of a loony, especially with all the tarot and psychic stuff.

I wasn't particularly keen on the tarot side of the book - it's not something that I am interested in or particularly keen to read about - but as the book wore on and it appeared there were more concrete reasons for some of Phoebe's experiences, I found myself more gripped. There's a lot to this book and it's slow-build, and there are some interesting exploration of the spiritual world and how Phoebe's links with that world might help, but it's still a pretty good thriller in the `normal' physical world.

The previous book I've read by Holly Lisle, Talyn, is a fantasy book and I preferred the setting of that book and the freedoms of a make-believe world. But this book was still well-written and it was easy to get caught up in Phoebe's story - I found myself rooting for her throughout.

4-0 out of 5 stars Why didn't she just buy a guard dog?
A loyal dog would have torn Michael to shreds before the sorry excuse for a man could retaliate.Then all her problems would have been solved, but then there'd be no story, I guess.Her ex truly was evil and the author made him very realistic.I thought the doctor was a little wimpy, though. The book will hold the reader's attention.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of her best!
Definitely a page-turner. This is more of a typical romance than Lisle usually writes (although her work often has a romantic element).The paranormal elements are very well handled, as is the tension--it isn't dragged on too long, bits and pieces come out as you go--a very satisfying read. ... Read more

7. Talyn: A Novel of Korre
by Holly Lisle
Mass Market Paperback: 592 Pages (2006-11-28)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$0.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 076534873X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

In a world where technology is magic, and war is the only way of life, Talyn is a soldier...
Â…raised from birth to fight for her people and her country. She long ago embraced her fate: to die in battle. So when a shocking peace sweeps her land, she's cast adrift, and easily seduced by an outsider's touch, his new magic -- but his passions are evil and run deep, and Talyn soon finds herself twisted by his touch.
Through him she discovers darkness within herself she'd never suspectedÂ--and the mistreatment of prisoners of war, the creeping blackness sneaking through her land, the insidious evil that no one even suspected their peacekeepers of bringing.
Now she must weigh her life against her honor if she is to help her people regain their freedomÂ…
... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
I had to re-order a copy of this book because I loaned my original out and never got it back.And this is a book I want on my keeper shelf.

4-0 out of 5 stars Should have been a horror novel
Mostly, Holly's writing is deft.I give her credit for taking some big risks with this story, but I can't say that she pulled it off.

First, I found her world a fun place to visit.Her magical system was intriguing and resonant.I would have liked to have seen more of it.

The author pulls off the tricky 1st/3rd points of view.

But...Her heroine got too "up close and personal" with an over-the-top creep(big story risk).If the bad guys get off by murder during sex, then I want more emotional distance from them.

Also, I'm not sure the climax works.Societies shouldn't be that easy to fix.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth trying
(3.5 stars)

I have mixed feelings about Talyn. There are things I loved about it and things I really didn't love. Firstly, I loved the setting of the novel; it's a new world that has a fascinating society. Basically there are two cultures of people that occupy land as neighbors who have been warring for over 300 years. One is a free-state democracy type society and the other is a monarchy. The novel explores their issues about racism and elitism between the two factions. Talyn is part of the democracy; they are called Tonks. The book follows her journey through some great adventure and romance (although the romance was a lot more underplayed than I initially expected).

The magic system created in this world is also fantastic. It's hard to describe. There's the View which people can enter where they have to power to protect and destroy, and this is used by the warring factions to attack each other constantly, but they are so close that it's basically a stalemate. They just continue to fight and have even made countless rules and regulations over the centuries that govern this war to the point it is ingrained in their daily lives as harvesting and raising a family.

Lives change when a third race, the Feegash, enter the picture as diplomats and set up a peace treaty between the Tonks and the Eastils. But it doesn't end there (of course), and they find that there's more going on than they think.

As for the things I didn't like, well, the book was not consistent in its intrigue. I found that the beginning was awesome, then it lulled, then it got awesome again, and then instead of creating a great climax, the book for some reason went on for another 200 pages, and then ended in the big confrontation in the last 20 pages. I really found myself wondering why it was taking so long. Some good things happened in those 200 pages but they were so spread out and were events that I couldn't figure out why they HAD to be there that I felt it was just becoming too contrived. There would be build-up to action and then the author would throw in pages of self-reflection and speculation that I think extremely slowed down the actual plot. This, for me, is what knocked the book down from great to good.

3-0 out of 5 stars Starts Out Well, Then Starts Sagging
This stats as a well-written novel. I found some of the characters engaging and the bad guy was fun to hate. I thought it was a great book and was devouring it until towards the end of the middle section.

I honestly think that the publishers must have rushed the author, because things stop making sense. Character's personalities change out of nowhere, and they start behaving completely differently. As far as the villain is concerned, logic goes out the window. I personally found the lead romance completely unconvincing, and the ending was so annoying I nearly threw up. I don't mind happy endings, but I do mind everything's perfect up-on-a-cloud-singing-and-dancing endings, especially when everything is resolved in the last five pages! As you can see, the ending left a sour taste in my mouth.

Also, there is some extreme sexual violence in this, so don't read it if you don't have a strong stomach.

3-0 out of 5 stars Dark content with extreme sexual torture
I hesitate to recommend this novel. It is quite interesting, an absorbing read until about the middle - and I have to spoil you here - when a storyline of extreme sexual violence against women comes to the forefront. I felt it was unnecessary and jarring. The bad guys are bad, evil, sure, but can there be ways to depict that other than, "they like to get together with their friends and rape and torture their wives to death?" In nauseating detail.

That aspect for me overshadowed the other good parts of the story - the likeable main heroine, world-building, the romance, etc. At the middle of the book, I skipped to the very end, the final confrontation, and it didn't really redeem itself. I woke up the next morning feeling sick. This is my reader's cautionary warning. If you don't care for snuff, take care, especially given that it appears without a warning, in what is until then a lovely story. ... Read more

8. Diplomacy of Wolves (The Secret Texts, Book 1)
by Holly Lisle
Paperback: 352 Pages (1998-11-01)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$9.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446673951
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A young diplomat named Kait must save future generations after discovering a plot to destroy the House of Galweigh. Her only hope is the mysterious Mirror of the Dead and a secret weapon she dare not use.Amazon.com Review
Book 1 of the Secret Texts series is set in a worldconsiderably more urban and urbane than traditional fantasy questepics. Dirigible balloons ("airibles") coexist with Machiavellianplotting, Borgia-like malevolence, and deadly family rivalryresembling that of the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo andJuliet. There's magic, too, forbidden but still furtively used:Each clan has its concealed corps of "Wolves," black magicians whoconduct cruel sacrifices and may become physically monstrous fromspell backlash. Young heroine Kait is a diplomat trainee and secretlya shapeshifter--that is, accursed and marked for death if everexposed. After a horrific clash of wizardry and assassination thatalmost wipes out her clan, she takes ship in search of the ancientMirror of Souls, which according to legend can bring back thedead. But legends may be booby-trapped: Kait and other charactersbecome guided by helpful spirit voices, gods with their own agenda andno love of humanity, and the Mirror's real function may be altogetherdifferent. Meanwhile, a long-dead sorcerer who opposed the gods withhis own white-magic cult awaits rebirth. The magic and itstransforming side effects are exhilaratingly horrid; the novel endswith a whopping cliffhanger. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

Customer Reviews (59)

3-0 out of 5 stars Diplomacy of Wolves
This book really frustrated me. Sometimes I loved it and other times I skipped entire sections. The beginning of the Diplomacy of Wolves is told from the main character Kait's point of view. You come to know her and relate to her, and everything is great. I discovered that the book is not about crazy mages running around, like the jacket suggested, but about a werewolf/shapeshifter. Points for originality there. Things start to fall apart when people are attacked, families are destroyed, and chaos abounds. My interest waned a bit as other viewpoints were introduced and the plot took a different path than expected. When we start to believe the book is about a shapeshifter learning to become a diplomat it turns into a hunt for an artifact. The middle section of the book was my least favorite, as I felt it was filled with unimportant details. I really didn't care who was sleeping with who, who the crazy brothers were killing, or what the voices in peoples' heads were saying. I skipped around until major events started unfolding-about 100 pages before the end. At that point there are deities, reborn mages, and we really aren't sure who is good and who is evil. Great! Please give me more of that.

There are plenty of plot twists, a large number of events unfolding that will eventually come together in something great, interesting characters, and a shapeshifter element. However, the changes in viewpoint can be a bit confusing at first and don't always add too much to the plot, details bog down what could have been a really great story, and there is a bit of a cliffhanger. Without the irritating points this novel could have been 5 stars. As it stands the dragging sections bothered me so much it knocked it down to a 3. I really hope the next one has more plot and less filler.

4-0 out of 5 stars An exciting adventure!
And what a cliffhanger of an ending!Set in a world called Matrin, with a map only slightly resembling our own, this is a detailed novel set in a land rich with its own history, religion, and vocabulary. It is full of excitement from the very first pages! In fact, that is my only real complaint - it would have been nicer to have more of an introduction to the characters and their unique world before thrusting them into one tough situation after another. Of course, now that the plot is deeply underway, I hardly want the action to stop for more back story, However, there are a few things that I hope are better explained in the remainder of this trilogy.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but depressing
Well written, but really too depressing for my taste. Provides an interesting variation on werewolves, a compelling, well-drawn fantasy world, and has some seriously evil, realistic villains. Hate to compare Lisle to Mercedes Lackey because they really are two different authors, but at least Ms. Lackey, from my reading experience, manages to insert some uplifting elements. Then again, if you are intrigued by Ms. Lisle's writing and want to read something else by her that at least isn't so depressing, try one of her earlier works, Fire in the Mist. That one at least has a happy ending.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great unusual story
Follows the journey of a young woman, who has a new job being a sort of chaperon for her family...while struggling with a secret she's kept from those to whom she now protects..And as power and politics thrust her in the middle of a dark battle, she must accept help from strangers and share her secret..a curse of shapshifting into a wolf.
It's a very unusual story, in the way it's written..just different..I thought it was great.

3-0 out of 5 stars On the fence about this one...
This was a strange book for me.I read about 100 pages of it in the library, and never checked it out to finish the book.A couple years later I picked the book up again and forced myself to get past the first 100 pages, and eventually I did finish it.So here's my review:

This is not a book I enjoyed when I first picked it up.I felt like Lisle presented too many highly graphic and derogatory scenes too early in the book.Such early violence is what drove me off, and will likely drive off other readers--not because of squeamishness, necessarily, but because of how fast Lisle hits you with seemingly gratuitious violence.Not only in there a scene of disemboweling and imminent rape, but there's also a scene where a six-year-old boy is drawn and quartered.Readers, be aware of this.But once you get past these scenes, the writing seems to mellow out a bit, and once I got past the novel's beginning, I started to enjoy the book a lot more.

The writing style is well developed and flows very evenly, without noticeable repetition of words or images.The world is also solidly developed, and though it's not the most interesting of worlds, it's not a complete rip-off or stereotype either.I was also glad that the names in the book were good and escaped the typical cheesy or stupid or fruity names typical to bad fantasy.Also, another positive for Lisle, the descriptions and creativity of the Scarred peoples is fantastic.The description of Rrrru-eeth is beautiful.

As for the characters... I think this is where Lisle slips up.Character development is spotty at best.Kait's character is interesting at first, but mostly because of her secret, monstrous self.Once that secret is out of the way, her character grows dull very fast.Hasmal is painted as a semi-intelligent, very cowardly character, but later on Lisle confers bravery on him in what I think is an unrealistic way.Uncle Dughall is just a typical uncle stereotype, with his fostering Kait's career and talents, and his actions as a sort of god-father.Not much depth there.Ry Sabir, though he has some depth and complexity, doesn't quite have enough.

While the plot of this novel is paced fast enough to keep most readers going, there are times when it progresses much too fast.The trip between continents for Kait, Hasmal, and Ian Draclas' crew progressed much too quickly and made it seem so easy that lots of ships should have made the journey.Lisle lost my belief when she tried to make such a trip seem rare, and when she tried to describe ancient, 1000 year ruins bursting with treasure at the end of this journey.I just could not believe that after such an easy journey, especially for Ry's ships (which was following Kait's) there would be so much untouched treasure on this other continent.What about greedy treasure hunters and glory seekers, Lisle?And there are other flaws in the plot.Lisle has Kait reveal her secret, other self to far too many people just in this first novel--after she supposedly kept her secret successfully hidden since she was born.That ruins the plot and Kait's character.And finally, the discovery of the Mirror of Souls was also written to fast and made too easy for the characters.I found that to be a bit lousy.

But because of the positive aspects of the book--excellent description, especially of the Scarred and of Kait's Shifting, and because the story itself is interesting enough, I did finally finish the book and found it mildly enjoyable.This book is pure escapist fantasy, as it's purpose is only for entertainment.It does not carry any underlying message or interpretation.So if you're sick of reading "heavy" literature, like any English college major, this is an entertaining break. ... Read more

9. Courage of Falcons (The Secret Texts - Book 3)
by Holly Lisle
Paperback: 432 Pages (2000-10-01)
list price: US$21.99 -- used & new: US$8.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446673978
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In the conclusion to this highly praised series, the Final Battle ensues between the Falcons, a band of fugitive wizards committed to peace, and the Dragons, the soul-devouring necromancers wielding the enormous power of black magic. Aided by the long-banished Scarred, the unstoppable army is bent on conquest. Meanwhile, heroes Kait Galweigh and Ry Sabir struggle to destroy the sorcerer Luercas in a new Mirror of the Dead, before he destroys them -- and all of Iberia -- forever. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

2-0 out of 5 stars A long winded and unsatisfying ending to a trilogy
This book lost its way following the two excellent parts of the trilogy.

Over-plotted with twists all over. I felt the characters were become thinner and less real and less convincing. The Scarred invasion led by Danya is unconvincing as is its resolution, and Rhu'hee being brought to what turns out to be summary justice by Ry
for pinching Ian Draclas's boat seems worse than bolting the door after the horse has bolted. I read it to the end but wondered why I no longer cared what happened to the charachters. Except for Crispin's daughter who is certainly the most interesting in the last half of the book, but underdeveloped.

A disappointing ending to two very enjoyable stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very satisfying conclusion to an exciting trilogy!
This was a great ending for an even greater adventure! I really enjoyed it - and the ending took me by surprise. I liked the sense of justice and the theology of love presented in this series. And though it was not the tale of werewolves as I had expected, it was still a richly detailed and thrilling fantasy that I really adored!

5-0 out of 5 stars really good!
The book itself was an awesome read - the service was great, mailed out even before promised, received in great condition.I will do this again.

4-0 out of 5 stars Courage of Falcons (The Secret Texts, Book 3
I rate this book as a four because it was exciting and the detail, and suspense was excellent.The writer keeps you guessing.You should read the whole series 1-3.They will be well worth your time.Enjoy!!

4-0 out of 5 stars A secret gem
This is a gem of a series.A family is wiped out, and the last survivor searches for an artifact that may bring them back--but its real purpose is a prison for dead sorcerers who derive magic from the souls of others.There is the standard plot of a prophecy of a savior, and that is turned around in a rather refreshing way.The characters are memorable and I really developed an attachment to Kait.

If you are a fan of this type of genre (as I am), you'll enjoy this series.I give it only four out of five stars for a couple of reasons.Although enjoyable, it seems as if the whole thing could have been much shorter.I'm not opposed to trilogies, but when a story is stretched out over three books just to make a trilogy then it can get a little slow in places (this could have been two books).Another thing was the main character's love interest.First she gets it on with the captain of a ship, and it seemed to work really well.However, she keeps having dreams about a stranger who is chasing her.He seems like a villain at first.They meet, and she resists him.Finally, she gives in to her (and his) desires and they stay together.Suddenly, this "villain" turns out to be cool.Frankly, the poor girl's whipped, by a punk prince.By the last book, however, all of this falls into place and their romance seems normal.

Jump on this one.It's well worth the read. ... Read more

10. Holly Lisle's Create A Character Clinic
by Holly Lisle
Spiral-bound: Pages (2006-01-01)
-- used & new: US$23.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00262K4VA
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Are you selling your fiction yet?

Editors reject most books because the characters fall flat.Full-time professional novelist Holly Lisle offers her method for creating and writing compelling fictional characters that sell to editors ... and readers.


  • What makes a character interesting (and what doesn't)

  • Techniques for giving your characters compelling needs that resonate with readers

  • How to use the seven critical areas of character development to prevent ""cardboard characters"" and address areas of your characters' lives you've never considered before

  • Techniques for developing characters' individual voices

  • Three ways of presenting your character, with proven techniques in each

  • Fifteen deadly sins writers commit with their characters, and how you can avoid them -- or better yet, turn them to your advantage and use them to surprise, excite, and delight your readers
... Read more

11. Hawkspar: A Novel of Korre
by Holly Lisle
Hardcover: 480 Pages (2008-06-24)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$6.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003F76EEG
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Stolen away from their families, they are slaves, women with no names and no futures. Every moment of their days controlled by the avatars of the stone Eyes--Obsidian, Emerald, Raxinan, Ruby, Windcrystal, Sapphire, Sunspar, Tigereye...
And the most powerful of them all, Hawkspar, the eyes of time. Kings and despots come to her to know their futures, and she wades in the river of time, pulls apart its sticky threads, to arrange the world to her satisfaction.
But she too was once a slave, plucked from her home, chosen by the Eyes to live in service to them, as much a slave now as she ever was. And with her sight into past and future, she can see the secrets of the Eyes--and the evil of the Eyes.
Before the death of Hawkspar, another must be chosen by the Eyes--but the avatar has her own plans, and chooses a slave for her courage and rebelliousness, rather than her dedication to the goals of the Eyes.
This slave is put to trial, but time after time, she is protected by forces unseen. Once she has swallowed the bitter liquid and has her eyes pulled from her head and replaced with the Eyes of Hawkspar stone, she can slip into the streams of time... and use time to her own ends -- to free the slaves once and for all, and destroy the Eyes, even if it means destroying herself in the process.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Freeing Tonks from Their Enemies
Hawkspar (2008) is the second fantasy novel in the Korre series, following Talyn.In the previous volume, Talyn learned the Hagedwar magic of the Feegash and combined it with Tonk magic.She used these magical powers to lead a revolt against the Feegash.Then she became one of the foremost healers among her people.

In this novel, Mouse is a Tonk girl who had been captured and sold to the Order of the Ossalenes.She has lost her real name over the years, But now she is First Penitent and planning an escape. She uses her Tonk magic to call for help across the oceans.She is trying to get rescued before her eyes are taken and replaced with magical stone Eyes.

Redbird is also a Tonk girl who was sold as a slave to the Ossalenes.She is now Second Penitent and part of Mouse's conspiracy.She has been dedicated to Mouse since their days on the slave ship.

Hawkspar is the Oracle of War, one of the rulers of the Ossalenes.Her eyes had been removed and replaced by stones of hawkspar.With their magic, she can see both the past and the future.

Aaran Donin av Savissha dryn Tragyn is a Tonk orphan.His family had been taken or killed by Silani slavers.Now he uses Hagedwar magic as a tracker on the Windsteed.His ship is one of four in the Haakvaryn wolfship pack and his pack is only one of the various packs that are hunting Silani slavers and freeing Tonk slaves.

Tuaanir av Sivissha dryn Nalri is also a Tonk orphan.His family had been taken or killed with Aaran's family.Now Tuua is the keeper -- priest -- for the Windsteed.He is a follower of Saint Ethebet, but also studies the other four saints.

Ossal is dead, but not gone.Once he had been a wizard and a king, but he had created the Oracle Eyes and they destroyed him.But he is still tied to all the Eyes that he had created.Whenever Oracles are tired and down, Ossal tries to take over their bodies.

In this story, Mouse is sparring with Redbird when an Obsidian tells her that Hawkspar wants to see her.She also wants to see Redbird.They hurry back to their quarters, grab their formal wear and go to wash off the sweat from their practice.

When Mouse reaches Hawkspar's quarters, she is very frightened.She feels even more afraid as Hawkspar shows that she knows about Mouse's little conspiracy.But then Hawkspar tells Mouse about her own conspiracy.

Hawkspar shows Mouse her Tonk clan markings -- which are the same as those on Mouse's palm -- and tells Mouse that they had both been taken from their clan as children.Hawkspar's conspiracy has taken some of the highest positions within the Ossalenes.Five of the Oracles -- a majority -- are within her conspiracy.

Hawkspar convinces Mouse to become her successor, the next Hawkspar.Of course, Mouse would rather be rescued while she still has her own eyes, but soon realizes that the Hawkspar Eyes are the only way to reach her goals.But she stills sends her magic out to call for rescue.

Meanwhile, Aaran detects the magical call for help from Mouse.The call is so strong that he falls from his perch on the ship spars.He argues with Captain Haakvar about following the call and rescuing a hundred lost Tonk children.Yet Haakvar believes any effort to sail the Fallen Sun islands is doomed to failure and refuses to try.

When the Windsteed reaches Port Midrid, Aaran takes his share and starts shopping for a ship of his own.Tuua stays with him, but other officers are hard to find.Haakvar has spread the word that Aaran is a madman on a hopeless quest.

Aaran finds only one shipbuilder who will sell him a ship.Unluckily, the ship is a drowner and has been retrieved from the sea to be repaired and resold.Aaran can have the ship at cost if he agrees to bring back a new wife for the shipwright.

Afterward, Aaron finds a short crew of mixed origins, with only a few Tonk officers and sailors.He hopes to gain more officers and crew during his voyage.As they leave the harbor, Aaran puts the crew and marines to work sanding the stench of the sea from the planks.

This tale takes Aaran and his crew to the back entrance of the Ossalene castle as enemies are attacking the front.Mouse is now the Hawkspar and has her followers waiting in the tunnel above the back harbor.They load the children and adults aboard the ship and flee.As they are sailing away, the tunnel explodes behind them and takes the lives of many enemies.

Hawkspar has magical powers through the Eyes, but she is also under siege from Ossal, who is trying to takeover her body.Of course, she could just die and Ossal will be plunged back into the black hole from which he is trying to escape.Yet she has taken the task of finding and defeating the menace that is undermining the Tonk.

One wonders if the name Hawkspar has any relationship to the Sparhawk of the Elenium and Tamuli series by Eddings.I cannot find any mention of hawkspar as a gemstone, so maybe it was invented from whole cloth.In some ways, the Hawkspar and Sparhawk characters are the converse of each other, but there are several common aspects, including courage and audacity.

This novel continues the tale of the Tonk clans introduced in the first book in this series.Hopefully there will be more to follow.Read and enjoy!

Highly recommended for Lisle fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of exotic magic, mass escapes, political intrigue and true romance.

-Arthur W. Jordin

5-0 out of 5 stars Well written interesting story
I very much enjoyed this book. The story is fast paced and well drawn. The charaters were interesting and complex.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good, but not quite great . . .
I'm a BIG fan of Ms. Lisle's work, and the first 75-80% of this novel had me ready to rate it 5 stars.Unfortunately, the last chapters seemed to me somewhat hurried and sketchy.The conclusion is satisfying, but the last twelve chapters didn't resonate and fill my mind with strong imagery in the same way as the first parts of the book.I strongly recommend it for the worldbuilding, the characters, and the hooks for future adventures in Korre - but I think Hawkspar would have been better with a few more pages (and a little more time for writing).Phill Rowell

5-0 out of 5 stars Chosing the Dark Path as the Only Hope...
Taken as a young girl by slavers, a nameless Tonk girl faces a hard choice.Risking punishment and death she has secretly been fighting the order of Ossalene Priestesses who purchased her and countless other girls, bringing them up under a harsh rule that leads to obedience and the eventual taking of their eyes and humanity--or death or being sold off to an even worse fate.But the most powerful woman of the Ossalenes, Hawkspar, Eyes of War, has picked her as her successor, to have her eyes torn out and replaced with stones of Hawkspar, created by an ancient sorcerer, which will confer upon her the ability to see into the future and the past--but with darkness, pain and madness as a reward.This is a fate she has fought against, building up a secret association of rebels among the order, but the old Hawkspar reveals that the girl must take the Eyes, for the fate of all Tonk people rests upon her, as well as the success of the escape of the slaves held by the order.The Tonk people are less than a distant memory to the girl, yet...she knows she must try to free her fellow slaves... AND keep others from falling into slavery, which means saving the Tonk as a people from the enemy that works to enslave and break them.With her secret friend, Redbird, she agrees to take the Eyes and become Hawkspar after the present one dies, and Redbird will take the Obsidian Eyes, as a fighter to protect her.

In the meantime, the Hawkspar-to-be, has been secretly sending out magical pleas for rescue for many years, using her own Tonk magic.Aaran, a Tonk who hunts with the Sea Wolves, sailing to take slaver ships and free their captured people, senses the distant pleas for help.Aaran will stop at nothing in order to help free the hundred or more slaves kept by the Ossalenes.He will be sailing through the unknown and hazardous Islands of the Fallen Star, farther than the Sea Wolves roam.The plight of the unknown girl has captured his soul.His young sister was stolen by slavers long ago and he and his cousin have sworn to never rest until they find her, so he has added incentive to look farther away and to risk much more than others.

I loved the story of Hawkspar, who has fears and regrets and yet still knows someone has to do what is necessary to save others.The life and hierarchy of the Ossalenes is also fascinating, if dark and disturbing.Their magic, seeing the future (Hawkspar), healing (Moonstone), fighting (Obsidians), etc., is very cool.

Aaran and the fiercely free, but beleaguered Tonk people are also involving.Aaran also does what he has to do, despite all odds and despite horrible set-backs and difficulties.He, like Hawkspar, is someone who merely asked for a basic life with family and hard work--but were denied it totally.And yet they still keep hopes alive, even in the darkest situation.They face impossible odds and need to succeed or lose everything--along with a whole nation of people who depend upon them.

We experience sea adventures, cannibals, powerful and cruel tyrants, centuries-old conspiracies, cultures of cruelty and magic that will do anything for power and riches, bizarre creatures, battles to free prisoners and battles to free entire cities and plots and trickery in order to win free from a horrible destiny.

And through these epic battles and adventures the focus is kept on Aaran and Hawkspar, since their personal battles are also the larger ones.Their tale is handled well, and is very moving, amidst all the action and adventure.This is definitely a world and people worth reading about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Escape into an epic
Set in the world of Korre, same as her novel Talyn, but the book is able to stand alone.

Honestly, I was not impressed with this cover.If it hadn't been Holly's work I would never have picked the book up.It's lackluster, dull.Tor did not do her work justice with this cover art.Actually Tor didn't do much right with this book at all.Out of curiosity I looked up the artist who did the cover and he's capable of much better work.Such a shame.

The novel itself is amazing.Classic Lisle with a return to the richly developed and many layered world of Korre.Well fleshed out and believable characters and a killer story.A young woman who was taken as a slave now lives among the Osselene Order, an order that gets their power from stone eyes created by a power hungry Prince.Chosen from the ranks of the acolytes because of the strength of her secret Tonk magic the girl rises to power as an Oracle.Her eyes are removed and replaced with Hawkspar stone - destroying her natural vision and giving her the ability to not only 'see' but manipulate the rivers of time.

A young Tonk man named Arran is the best magical tracker of his kind, hunting slaves stolen from the Tonk and on a quest to find his sister who was taken years ago.

Hawkspar's magic reaches out and Arran is the one who picks it up.

There are two distinct story lines with Hawkspar and Arran and Lisle weaves them together beautifully, like an intricate dance.Point of view changes from 1st person (Hawkspar) to 3rd person (Arran) as the story progresses but it's done well and does not interrupt the flow at all.Evil is monstrous and seemingly insurmountable and the love between the two seems doomed.

Hawkspar knows she needs to sacrifice everything to save the world.Arran can't turn away from his quest to find his sister.

I was riveted and in no way, shape or form does this review do the book itself justice.Looking for a deep read that you can escape into?Hawkspar is for you! ... Read more

12. The Ruby Key (Moon & Sun)
by Holly Lisle
Hardcover: 368 Pages (2008-05-01)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$3.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0545000122
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Mankind is Sunkind

And rules by the light;

Nightlings are Moonkind,

And rule in the night;

Or there will be war.

Human and Nightlings are never to meet, but when Genna and her brother Dan venture into the old forest at night, they encounter a Nightling slave who reveals a terrifying secret: Genna and Dan's village chieftain has made a dangerous deal with Letrin, ruler of the Nightlings, offering the lives of his people in exchange for his own immortality.

To save the villagers and themselves, Genna and Dan strike their own bargain with the Nightling lord, but the stakes are even higher. Now, the siblings must embark upon a journey along the Moonroads, and bring back the key to Letrin's downfall.

Written in haunting, lyrical prose, Holly Lisle transports readers to the twilit realms of the Night Worlds.

Holly Lisle is a native of Salem, Ohio, but she's also lived in Alaska, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. She is the author of many bestselling adult suspense and fantasy novels. She has three children, a handful of cats, and believes writing is the best job a person can have. She currently resides in Georgia, with her family.

Holly Lisle is a native of Salem, Ohio, but she's also lived in Alaska, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. She is the author of many bestselling adult suspense and fantasy novels. She has three children, a handful of cats, and believes writing is the best job a person can have. She currently resides in Georgia with her family. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars BEST BOOK EVER!!!
I'm using my mom's account for this.

I'm 8 years old. It took mea long time to read this book, but because once I took a break from it. The book is VERY interesting, but a lot of people (especially people under my age) wouldn't get it that much. After I was about halfway through the book, I knew it was my FAVORITE book ever. The Ruby Key is the kind of book that really pulls you in, and makes you want to read it forever. It's the kind of book that brings you to a new world. When I found the sequel to it, The Silver Door, at my local library, I was SO excited. I recommend that you probably shouldn't read this book until you're at least 10.

This book has no swearing in it!

3-0 out of 5 stars An interesting start...
I picked up this book because of the intriguing cover. I love the sense of movement it implies with the crouching elf and the cat perched parrot-like on the heroine's shoulder. This richly detailed fantasy takes place in a world where elves and humans hold an uneasy truce. Much of the symbolism was a bit heavy-handed, Sun/Moon, Day/Night, Humans/Elves, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Genna and her brother Dan are driven to desperate measures when their traditional village herbal treatments won't help their mother's illness. They sneak out at night (a dangerous time for humans) to steal some taandu tree sap, hoping to cure her. This is technically a breach of their truce with the nightlings, but justified when it's revealed that their evil Uncle Banris has made a magical bargain with the equally corrupt Elf King, Letrin. Letrin has agreed to grant Banris immortality... if he manages to kill all the children in his care. At this point, the stakes are raised so very high, Genna and Will literally have no choice. Of course, they must continue their fight, even if they'd rather give up, because to stop would mean simply letting Banris murder them and their whole family. I was disinclined to feel sympathetic for the way the siblings desperately feel they must protect their young siblings who are vaguely drawn characters at best. Still, their quest to travel the night roads with their guide Yarri and a talking cat provided lots of adventure as the siblings fend off various magical traps. Lisle's magic system didn't always operate with clockwork precision but the culture and rich history of the Nightlings showed solid worldbuilding. With the reveal of the Sun Wizards this feels like a universe where the humans access to magic is on the upswing after a long absence, and that's always fun to read about.Hopefully, some of the characters and magic systems will be more fully fleshed out in the sequels to this planned trilogy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent fantastical adventure...absolutely loved it!
This is the first book in Lisle's Sun and Moon trilogy.I wasn't sure what to expect from this book.I had read a couple of Lisle's older books back when I was in high school and remember liking them.Well I am glad I picked this up because it was a great book!

Gennadara and Daneth live in a small village called Hillrush and along with the other villagers struggling to maintain peace with the Nightlings, a race that can only emerge at night that is ruled by the evil and immortal Letrin.When Gennadara and Dan find there mother has caught a wasting illness, they seek to make a bargain with Letrin to save their mother's live.Little do they know that bargain they make will take them on a great adventure and force them into an age old struggle beyond their imagining.

This was a really well done book.All of the characters are engaging and interesting.Gennadara is especially intriguing; she is a somewhat timid girl with a core of strength and determination that is admirable.The world Lisle creates is interesting and immense; just the surface of this world is touched in this book with hints showing the larger struggle humanity faces against the Nightlings.Lisle does an excellent job describing the surroundings in a way that really conveys the dark and dank mood of the settings.In general the book is very well-written and Lisle shows great skill in creating a readable and intelligent writing style with excellent plot weaving.

There aren't a ton of action scenes, the majority of this book focuses on adventuring, but both the adventuring and action scenes are very well done.The whole time you are left wondering if Gennadara and Dan will make it in time to save their mother and this really propels the story forward making it hard to put down.You never know what fantastical creature will appear around which corner or what a character will do next.Lisle also adds a thread of humor into both Gennadara's and the Cat's personality that keeps the story from taking itself too seriously.

The best thing about this book is that it reminds me a lot of a good old classic fairy tale or folktale, with a bit more added.At first the story seems contained, but then it is broadened to deal with all of humanity.I just really, really, enjoyed it and couldn't find a single thing about it I didn't like.My biggest complaint is that now I want to read the next book in the series RIGHT NOW!It was a great book, suited for younger children as well as young adults and adults.

5-0 out of 5 stars Un-Put-Down-Able
"The Ruby Key" is the first of the Moon & Sun trilogy by Holly Lisle. This book was absolutely THRILLING and I could not put it down. The two main characters, Genna and Dan, are siblings determined to save their ailing mother, even if it means breaking the biggest law of their land: staying inside after dark. In their world, humans rule the day and nightlings rule the night. But Genna and Dan need a special sap from magical trees that can only be harvested at night, so they sneak out and risk their own lives in order to save their mother. This is all in the FIRST CHAPTER, and it just gets better and better from there. Genna and Dan are both very brave and capable, so they are terrific role models for young readers. Genna in particular is close to my heart because I adore a strong heroine, and she fits the bill perfectly.

"The Ruby Key" is expertly written and so much fun read. Recommended for all ages!

Also, check out the sequel, "The Silver Door."

5-0 out of 5 stars Even though I'm almost 20 I loved it!
Since everyone has already put up the summery, I don't want to go and beat the same dead horse, but! This was a very very very lovely book! I'm almost 20 years old and I loved it. To me it didn't seem like a children's fantasy, but just another great book about the realm of Fey. The characters were so neat, I even fell for the villein (aka the Kai-Lord) when I first read about him. Ha I read that book while I was at work nonstop and I finished it in one sitting. I'm planning on getting the second book very soon.

As someone once wrote to me,

"The Fey wonders of the world only exist while there are those with the sight to see them."
-Charles Delint ... Read more

13. The Silver Door (Moon & Sun)
by Holly Lisle
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (2010-05-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$5.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0545000157
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In the battle between nightlings and humans, it's prophesied that the Sunrider is destined to unite the magics of the sun and moon for the good of all. She alone can lead the fight to defeat an immortal evil.

Genna is the chosen Sunrider, and under nightling protection, she must learn the ancient magics so she may bring an end to the war between slaves and masters. When she escapes a brutal plot concoted by the evil kai lords, Genna finds herself cast into the depths of the Sun Wizards' world.

As the war begins to cross the moonroads, threatening to destroy all the worlds beneath the sun and moon, Genna must rise and harness her new powers in order to save her people. Will Genna, with the help of her brother, Dan, and their friends Catri, Doyati, and Yarri, be able to fulfill her fate?

Master storyteller, Holly Lisle, once again transports readers to the twilit realms of the night worlds in this enchanting and gorgeous second tale.

Praise for THE RUBY KEY:

"The world Lisle creates is as distinctive and intriguing as any real place, with a complex history, well-developed societies, and a strong sense of magic. Many readers will find Lisle's creative embellishments of fairy lore especially arresting."--BOOKLIST (starred review)

"[F]antasy fans will find both a satisfying adventure quest and the lively coming-of-age story of the reluctant heroine Genna." -- KIRKUS REVIEWS

"[W]ondrous moments and lots of interesting variations on traditional faery stories." -- LOCUS magazine

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful fantasy; engaging and very well-written
This is the second book in the Moon and Sun trilogy (at least I've heard that it's supposed to be a trilogy) by Holly Lisle.It was an excellent addition to the series and is a wonderfully told story.

In the first book we find out that Genna is destined to be the Sunrider.This book starts out with Genna, Dan, Doyati, Catri, and Yarri being tutored in the Sun Wizards language by the very tedious Master Navan. Things quickly change though when Genna and Catri are attacked by a dragon and carried off to the Spire, an ancient stronghold of the human Sun Wizards of old.There Catri and Genna learn more about the humans' past and about the Sun Wizards in general.But will the help the Spire gives be of a benefit or detriment to Genna's path to become a Sunrider?

This was a wonderful book.Lisle has an excellent writing style for telling a good solid fantasy.The characters are well developed and the plot thickens as more characters are thrown into the mix and the humans' situation gets more dire than ever.Much of the book revolves around Catri and Genna exploring the enormous Spire and about what they find out there.Most of this book focuses around the past of the humans and how they came to be slaves to the Kai Lords.

This book was a little more wandering than the last book.In process of exploring the Spire, Genna looses some focus on her Sunrider duties, but that is all part of the story.This book really gave the story a lot more breadth than it had in book 1.

I love Lisle's writing style and her skill in building worlds and characters that are engaging and completely natural feeling.I love that the characters , especially Genna and the Cat, have a sense of humor that occasionally rears its head...this keeps things from ever getting overly serious.Genna is a great character, she is kind yet possess honor,persistence, and a practicality that is admirable.I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to spend more time with Yarri and Doyati, but the additions of Jagan and the Dragon more than made up for the nightlings' absence in this story.

Another great addition to this series, I can't wait to read the next book!This book would appropriate for all ages.If you like the Fablehaven series, Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice), or even Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) I would check out this series.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Silver Door
In this, the sequel to The Ruby Key, Holly Lisle engages, captivates and otherwise locks her readers into the world of Moon and Sun. Genna - her central character, continues with her companions along a path of challenges that further involve the reader in questions of family, friendships, allegiances and fate.

Holly Lisle's prose possesses a quality of transcendence, that in the mind's eye, crystallize a vision of the world and characters she creates, beyond the words she uses to do so. She makes transparent the hearts and minds of those, who's motives clear, react in unique and unexpected ways to circumstances both poignant and suspenseful.

Travel the moonroads with Genna, through taandu tree forests of dark mossy green and beyond the clouds over windswept seas. Explore the magic of The Silver Door. But before you do, make sure you've found The Ruby Key.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine fantasy adventure
Holly Lisle's MOON & SUN: THE SILVER DOOR tells of the Sunrider who is prophesied to unite the magics of Sun and Moon for the good of all. Genna is the chosen Sunrider and must learn the old magics to she can end the war between slaves and masters - but it's not until she crosses both worlds, that she finds the power and courage to harness her real potential in this fine fantasy adventure.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating world, engaging characters
This book is the second in Holly Lisle's Moon & Sun trilogy. The first book, "The Ruby Key", was a thrilling read that introduced a very well-conceived world. "The Silver Door" continues the story of Genna, the prophesied "Sun Rider" who worked so hard in the first book to save her family and free the nightling slaves. Genna is an ideal role model for girls because she is capable, brave and kind. In "The Silver Door" she finds out more about what it means to be the Sun Rider and what she is supposed to accomplish (according to the prophecy). However, while finding this out she also discovers that knowing what you're supposed to do and figuring out how the heck you're supposed to do it are two totally different things. "The Silver Door" also builds upon the intricate culture of the Sun Wizards, who were mentioned in the first book but whose empire has since been destroyed. Genna and her best friend Catri explore a lost city of the Sun Wizards, which is a truly fascinating setting.

All in all, "The Silver Door" is a very good read, though it does suffer a bit from being the second book in a trilogy, and it therefore has to set up a lot for the conclusion. However, from what I read in "The Silver Door" it sounds like the last book will be absolutely fantastic and I can't wait to read it! So, definitely read "The Ruby Key" and "The Silver Door" to encourage Scholastic to print the last book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can'tPut it down
Actually another member of the family read the book and literally couldn't put it down. She defined it as well composed,interesting and got me on line to order the next book in the series. ... Read more

14. Vincalis the Agitator
by Holly Lisle
Paperback: 400 Pages (2002-03-01)
list price: US$21.99 -- used & new: US$6.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446678996
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Hars Ticlarim is a miraculous place of wondrous beauty based on a science of sorcery called Dragon Magic. But this magic draws its power from the agony of slaves who are killed for sorcerous fuel. And for three thousand years, no one has dared question this inhuman crueltyuntil now. Wraith, a boy with uncanny power, tries to start a revolution. Solander, his friend, believes he had discovered a totally new form of magic. And then theres Luercas, a sadistic noble who will commit any crime that furthers his ambition. All three are clever, resolute and driven. For they challenge the rulers of globe-spanning power that has endured for milleniarulers who will do anything to stay in power forever ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Downfall of the Dragon Empire
Vincalis the Agitator (2002) is the prequel to The Secret Texts Trilogy.The Empire of Hars Ticlarim has existed for three millennia, growing in might and expanding into the surrounding barbarian lands.During the last millennium, Dragon magic has powered the Empire, insuring plentifulsupplies of food and other necessities for eight billion citizens, creating fantastic works of architecture, and overcoming their enemies.Unknown to the general populace, however, this Dragon magic was based on the flesh, bone, blood and life of the drugged prisoners within the Warrens.

In this novel, Wraith is a Warrener who has awakened from the Sleep.He stopped eating the Wayfare that caused the stupor and instead stole his meals from the surrounding city, sneaking out of the Vincalis gate to salvage food from the garbage.Over a period of time, he found others who are not quite lost in the Sleep and weaned them from the Wayfare, but only he can pass through the gate into the city without being destroyed.

One day, as he is searching for food for Smoke and Jess, Wraith finds a market square where people are apparently taking food without paying.He fills a basket and leaves, but is noticed and pursued as a thief.He ducks into an open gateway and is hidden by Solander Artis, the only child of the Master of Energy, third highest position in the Empire.

Solander discovers that Wraith is immune to magic;the magical force just passes through him as if he wasn't there.Solander wishes to study this immunity and conceives a plan to establish Wraith and his friends in the Artis household as remote cousins from the hinterlands.Solander involves his cousin Velyn in the plans and Wraith becomes infatuated with her on sight.

Wraith returns to the Warrens with a box of Artis edibles to find that Smoke has returned to the Sleep when the food gave out, but that Jess is still waiting for him.He tells her of the plan and then leaves to meet Solander and Velyn.They return with an official aircar and smuggle Jess out of the Warrens.

In this story, Solander and Wraith discover that the Dragon Council has discovered a new, more powerful source of magic based on destruction of the souls of the Warreners.They resolve to liberate the Warreners, with Solander working from within and Wraith writing plays to enlighten the populace to the harmful side of magic.In order to protect their identities, Solander underwrites the first play through intermediaries and Wraith pretends that the plays were written by someone else called Vincalis.

This story shows the callous disregard of the Dragons toward the people in the Warrens;the Dragons label them as inhumans and thus not to be considered when the welfare of the whole Empire is at stake.Unfortunately for the Dragons, the god Vodor Imrish disagrees with them and is helping the rebels.From the destruction that results comes the world of The Secret Texts.

This work has many of the strengths of The Secret Texts trilogy, but the storyline does not flow as naturally as the trilogy.Since this is the prequel, the ending is a foregone conclusion, but some of that inevitability appears to have crept into the development of both characters and plot, causing a sense of abruptness.Nonetheless, this story is fully enjoyable, both as a prequel and on its own.

Recommended for Lisle fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of strange societies and stranger magic together with political intrigue and a touch of romance.

-Arthur W. Jordin

5-0 out of 5 stars Vincalis -- Worth Reading
Having read several of Holly Lisle's novels, I can only say that she continues to improve.After her beginnings with the humorous Arhel tales, the Secret Texts seem like something altogether different--a dark trilogy of novels in which good and evil vie for domination.

Holly Lisle likes to ask questions in her work, and her plots are not as character-driven as ones such as those you will find written by Mercedes Lackey or Anne McCaffrey.She usually prefers to introduce readers mostly to one character, and leaves us questioning that character's past even then, hinting at much more than she gives us.However, with Vincalis, she introduces us strongly to the protagonist Wraith and his motives.Readers are not as informed about other major characters, yet sufficiently so that the plot runs properly.

This novel is food for thought as well as intended for entertainment.It is not the sort of novel that many fantasy readers are used to, and despite its being based in a fantasy world, dealing with a fantasy situation, it can be viewed in a deeper aspect.

My main issues with the novel are but minor ones:First of all, it seems as if the minor characters in the beginning have more reasonable motives for their actions than they do toward the end.Second of all, it still leaves quite a bit in question about the Secret Text trilogy it is the prequel to, and the only answer currently available on why certain things are known, or happen, is that this information was written into the Secret Texts.

Still, having read the Secret Texts Trilogy, I found this to be an intriguing read.It isn't the happiest of novels, being rather dark due to its very plot involving human lives being sacrificed to create magic, but I believe that its plot and main character will stay in my memory, at least, for a very long time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Done
I was very excited to find out that Holly Lisle was going to reveal the interesting but rather vague series of events that led to those that took place in the Secret Texts.At the same time I was also nervous, I wanted so much to love Vincalis the Agitator just as I had loved the other three! Luckily for me, I was not to be disappointed.I have to admit Vincalis the Agitator was different from the Secret Texts Trilogy but in a very important way.The two plots took place in two different societies and therefore each deserved a slightly different approach.What was the same however, was Holly Lisle's ability to create characters that all avid fantasy readers can appreciate.Wraith and Solander were both able to capture my heart just as Kait, Ry, and the many other Falcons in the Secret Texts.
The best part about Vincalis the Agitator is that it answers all those questions that were posed in Diplomacy of Wolves, Vengeance of Dragons, and Courage of Falcons. Who is Solander? How is he able to be so pure and loving? Why was Vincalis the Agitator able to reach so many with his wisdom? If you want to know the answers to these and many other questions, I recommend reading Vincalis the Agitator, it is a marvellous prequel to the Secret Text Trilogy.

5-0 out of 5 stars better than The Secret Texts
While I did enjoy The Secret Texts trilogy, I must admit that I found the writing to be lacking.The whole story felt rather empty... as did the characters.

Vincalis, on the other hand, is a stunning example of an author coming into her own.With this book, Lisle seems to really find her own voice.The characters are really fleshed-out, and I felt as though I understood their motivations and drives.It's very well written, and I think it can stand alone--without The Secret Texts.

4-0 out of 5 stars Vincalis
Holly Lisle created something new and fresh when she published the trilogy 'The Secret Texts' and now she has allowed us to see what the Hars Ticlarim is truly about: Deceit and Power. This book shows the reader how the Wizard's War set Matrin aflame and how Kait and Ry found themselves being pulled into the fire. The description is wholly absolute. I enthusiastically encourage the fans of 'The Secret Texts' to snatch this book as soon as they can. ... Read more

15. Holly Lisle's Create A Culture Clinic
by Holly Lisle
Spiral-bound: Pages (2007-01-01)
-- used & new: US$23.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00262RLCA
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Create religions, philosophies, governments and lifestyles different than your own---that work together and feel real. Avoid cliches. Begin using your new culture in your writing....

All in about five hours.


My method for adding cultural depth to works set in the present, and for building cultures from the ground up in worlds of my own making. Includes:

  • How to build what you need, when you need it

  • How to avoid overbuilding

  • Tips for using what you've built in your writing

  • Examples, exercises, and worksheets

  • My method for organizing and saving work--you'll be able to find what you need quickly, no matter how much you build

  • Basic and advanced culture building

Non-technical and easy to use, my method will give you a usable beginning culture in about five hours, which you can expand as you work on the book, building only what you need and when you need it.

... Read more

16. Holly Lisle's Create A Plot Clinic
by Holly Lisle
Spiral-bound: Pages (2007-01-01)
-- used & new: US$23.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00262RO5Y
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
You can create a novel, short story, or screenplay plot from beginning to end, even if you don't know what you want to write about yet.

  • Want to write fiction but don't know where to start?
  • Do you have a stack of 30-page novels that have stalled?
  • Are you stuck in the vast morass of your novel's middle?
  • Don't know how to figure out your ending?
  • Or have you finished a first draft you don't know how to fix?

In Holly Lisle's Create A Plot Clinic, you'll learn:

  • How to choose and use your structure
  • How to create story ideas from twenty fun, easy tools
  • How to organize your plot before you write
  • How to adapt it while you write
  • How to fix problem plotting as you write the book and even when you're revising it
  • How to deal with late, great ideas and your stubborn Muse
  • And much more

Complete course includes descriptions, demonstrations, exercises, illustrations.

... Read more

17. Last Girl Dancing
by Holly Lisle
Paperback: 311 Pages (2005-07-05)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$4.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451411978
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Obsessed with discovering what happened to her missing sister, Atlanta detective Jess Brubraker is willing to disappear into a sordid nightworld to find the answer. But that means leading both herself and her lover into the most intimate and terrifying trap of all. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

1-0 out of 5 stars Too many plot holes
Sorry.Too many plot holes and not enough character development.

I actually liked the premise and the characters, but stopped reading about 2/3 way through when something was bad enough to make him violently ill and he left her, but then blithely met back up with her at her apartment to continue sleuthing.

5-0 out of 5 stars fabulous writing style
There might be some problems--this is a serial killer story, after all, and I did guess whodunit pretty early on, but that doesn't seem to matter. Holly Lisle's writing just sucks me in anyway.

A young dedicated cop gets a chance to make it into the elite homicide squad if she helps solve a series of stripper killings. The downside is that her career, which is her whole life, is on the line. Because of her dance background and her undercover experience, she's asked to go undercover as a stripper. And to work with a psychic. And she really hates psychics.

There are excellent reasons for everything, but the backstory is doled out naturally, in small doses--you don't get a big "this is who she is and why she's doing this" speech right up front, and the same goes for the hero.

Just fabulous writing. This is only the second book of Holly Lisle's that I've read, but I'm slowly collecting the rest.Since it was the writing I was so enthralled by, I expect I'll like them, too.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, underdeveloped plot and characters
I was expecting more out of a plot that was set in the sleazy world of strippers and prostitution but this book was so superficial in its usage of this plot device that it would have been better to have chosen something different. The two protagonists are also not well-drawn though the heroine fared better than Hank, the hero. All throughout the book, he came across as boring and conservative - which did not gel with the author's description of him as an ex-Ranger AND a psychic. I mean, wow - as an ex-Ranger, Hank would have some back story but nothing is said about him. I didn't know what he was like, what events in his life shaped him into the man he is today, who his friends were and what drives him;His whole character is made up of a guy who operates a martial arts school after being an ex-Ranger. He was like an inanimate object in the book at worst and at best, a Labrador seeing-eye dog. At least Jess had some emotional aspect to her but not much either. The annoying thing is that both the plot and the characters had so much potential.

For a much more satisfying police procedural, Karen Rose is much better bet because you'll get great romance and great characterisation. I haveLisle's I See You but after LGD, I did not feel like another Lisle.

5-0 out of 5 stars A gripping story!
I read this book straight after Midnight Rain by the same author and I have to say that I felt this book was a definite step up. Jess Brubaker is a workaholic police detective, driven by the memory that her sister went missing - Jess uses her spare time to try to find out what happened to Ginny. Hank is a former Ranger who has been medically retired and, since receiving his dreadful wounds, has gained a psychic touch ability - if he touches someone, or something they have recently handled, he gets an idea of their thoughts and emotions. Jess lost a lot of money through a fake psychic who promised to help her find her sister, Hank was taken for a ride by a very beautiful woman and so is wary of women like Jess. The initial antagonism is clear - although it doesn't last very long.

Jess ends up having to go undercover (or rather the opposite) in a strip club - three women's bodies have been found and they were all strippers at the club. The police suspect there were more than three women killed and so Jess is there, with Hank as backup, to try to find out who the killers (and the police think there are three) are. She ends up becoming the target of the killer herself as more women are killed.

The psychic angle was pretty effective in this book (it didn't work too well for me in Midnight Rain) and the story carries you along. Holly Lisle portrays her characters very well - we understand Jess and Hank and their issues and problems, including the disagreements that they have. I enjoyed reading it very much. My one slight reservation is that I guessed who the baddie was before the end so it wasn't a surprise but perhaps I was meant to! Anyway, it's a good book, well worth reading, so buy it and enjoy!

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Despite the fact that I like this author and that the book was overall quite good, I was very disappointed by both the romantic elements and the ending. I would have thought that the ending had been written by another author, had I not paid attention to the stilted romance. I felt like a whole chapter was missing at the end. The wrap-up showed the main character making major life changes without the thought process that accompanied them. I realize my explanation for my problems with the book sounds stilted, bt I wanted to express my dissatisfaction without spoilers. ... Read more

18. Vengeance of Dragons (The Secret Texts, Book 2)
by Holly Lisle
Paperback: 400 Pages (1999-10-01)
list price: US$26.99 -- used & new: US$12.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 044667396X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Fugitive diplomat Kait Galweigh battles the megalomaniacal Crispin Sabir for possession of an ancient artifact called the Mirror of Souls. Kait believes the mirror's magic will restore life to her lost kin; Crispin believes the mysterious object will make him a god. Both are terribly wrong, for the mirror contains the captive spirits of long-dead sorcerers who once conquered the world and are poised to wreak vengeance yet again. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars Perfect present
I ordered this for my husband.I had tried looking for it in all the local bookstores with no luck.I found several places to order this book from as part of his Father's Day present.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow!
This sequel was much better than the first book [Diplomacy of Wolves]- unexpectedly so! I really enjoyed learning more about the world of Matrin and its fantastic inhabitants. Some of the events in this book were quite shocking - and none of them were expected! A thrilling adventure, with a cliffhanger of an ending - which makes me very glad that I have the next book all set to be read! I can't wait to see how this series concludes!

4-0 out of 5 stars Vengence of Dragons - Book 2 of the secret Texts
I enjoyed this book and the series.I read Jordan and Goodkind and this was a nice departure.The world crafting is nice with the integration of technology and magic into them as well as the story line.The morphing aspects are intriguing and give the story something to wrap itself around.

4-0 out of 5 stars Will leave you breathless!
We continue where Diplomacy of Wolves cut us off so abruptly. Danya birthed Solander, the Reborn. She still dreamed of revenge against Crispin, Anwyn, and Andrew Sabir, as well as, against her own House.

Ry caught up with Kait and they began their wary dance. In the first book we found out Kait could skinshift to wolf or fish form. Book two showed another form that she and Ry could do. Dughall showed Ry what they were truly fighting for. In doing so, Ry's whole outlook on life changed, along with his priorities. They all join forces.

The Dragons were released from the Veil and possessed the bodies of powerful people. Through their dark magic Calimeeka's fate was sealed. Using the lives and souls of those who dwelled within the city as fuel, a new city emerged. It would not be long before the Dragons would turn their sights beyond the city to the rest of the world.

Luercas remained a curious puzzle in the first book. In this one we learned why he was helping Danya. I can say no more on that without giving away too much.

**** I thought this one to be as awesome as the last! However, again, the reader is left hanging in the middle of a vital second. Consider yourself warned that even though this author is fantastic, it is best NOT to begin reading this trilogy until all three books are released! Unless you have all three before you begin, you will not be satisfied and will probably end up angry. If you purchase all three at once and go from one straight into the next, you are in for a treat! The author weaves a fabulous tapestry of magic that will leave you breathless! ****

4-0 out of 5 stars Too Much Talking to the Other-selves
A good trilogy with very interesting mix of characters. However, characters talk too much to their (other)-selves, and that gets annoying after 500 pages. And, that (thing) happened to reborn is just plain stupid. Oh well... a good read non-the-less if you could withstand some disappointments in the storyline. ... Read more

19. Hunting the Corrigans Blood
by Holly Lisle
 Paperback: 320 Pages (1997-01-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$6.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671877682
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
When professional locater Cadence Drake is violently warned to stay away from a prospective job, she and her partner Badger become determined to recover a stolen hyper spaceship and encounter smugglers, thieves, and killer. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A hidden gem in sci-fi horror
Cadence Drake and Badger are a brilliant duo in a universe not quite what it seems. This stand-alone novel has rich characters and universe, brutality and terrifying moments, and subtle emotional tugs that make it one of my 100 favorites in any genre. I wish Holly Lisle would write another one in this setting.

5-0 out of 5 stars An interesting SF debut. 4.6 stars
"Blood" starts out as a standard tough-girl action-adventure (which
is the expectation fromthe vapid Baen cover).PI Cadence Drake is
hired to recover a stolen spaceship.After being beaten nearly to death
and stuffed in a closet with a corpse, Cadence is rescued by her
partner/employee/once-and-future lover, Badger. They hare off across
the galaxy , and it doesn't take them long to realize that Things Are
Not as they Seem.They encounter powerful foes, dark conspiracies,
and serious gore.The resolution is surprising and effective.

I can't be more specific without spoiling some of the fun, but it's a
satisfying book, altho darker than you'd think.

I believe this is Ms. Lisle's first SF novel - she has previously written
fantasies, many as collaborations.I've read and enjoyed "Sympathy for
the Devil", wherein the Hellspawn tempt contemporary North
Carolinians, with amusing results.An "A+" book, well-written,
light. witty and very funny. Highly recommended."The Devil and
Dan Cooley", the sequel, is entertaining but weaker.

Review copyright 1997 by Peter D. Tillman

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent piece of work
This is an outstanding piece of writing, especially for somebody who has never written SciFi before.The technology is plausible, the world-building excellent (and there's a lot of it too), and the characters seem like a logical extension of their environment.

Although this book starts off in the 'hard-boiled detective' genre, it quickly escalates into a compelling and hard-driving story that really defies conventions until the end which is logical and well-written but not quite as creative as the rest of the story.

I hope that Ms. Lisle continues to write SciFi because she's already very good and I'm sure she will become even better with time.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best
I'd never read anything by Holly Lisle alone before, only collaborations (The Rose Sea, Serrated Edge books), and I wasn't sure what to expect. I was blown away - this book is terrific! I have to read more of her stuff. Since I read Laurell K. Hamilton's Nightseer, I particularly think this book should appeal to her many readers: it's fast-paced, funny, and scary as hell.

5-0 out of 5 stars Compulsively readable
With HUNTING THE CORRIGAN'S BLOOD, acclaimed fantasy novelist Holly Lislemakes her first foray into the treacherous waters of science fiction. Andin this novel, those waters are treacherous indeed.

As is common is Ms.Lisle's books, we feel that there is much more to the setting than just theglimpses we are getting as Cadence Drake speeds through them in search ofthe missing ship, Corrigan's Blood. Her world-building has always providedLisle's work with a sense of depth that makes it almost impossible for thereader NOT to suspend their disbelief. But in CORRIGAN'S BLOOD, thebackground feels even deeper than in her Arhel novels, and the reader hasthe sense that the author is not yet finished with this setting.

Yet inmany ways this novel, despite the trappings of hard SF, is more of athriller. It has the headlong pace, compulsive readability, and enormousstakes that characterize the best of thrillers. Lisle's novels have alwayshad their dark side, but HUNTING THE CORRIGAN'S BLOOD doesn't seem to haveany other side. Her prose is leaner, cut closer to the bone than is herusual wont, and yet perfectly appropriate in a novel that hurtles towardsthe denouement at a pace that would require an origami drive to achieve. Ifound myself literally unable to put the book down, walking into things asI read on my way from room to room.

Though the almost-inevitable endingof this first volume was less than perfectly satisfying, if Lisle can bringthe same emotional intensity and driving pace to future works in thismilieu, one can hardly imagine that Cadence Drake's future adventures wouldfail to meet with increasing success.

It's a crime to see a book thisgood go out of print so quickly, but this one is well worth the time andeffort to hunt down a copy -- you will not be disappointed. One can onlyhope that Ms. Lisle's new publisher will take an interest in CadenceDrake's escapades, and give them a better home than Baen did. ... Read more

20. Fire in the Mist
by Holly Lisle
Mass Market Paperback: 304 Pages (1992-08-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$4.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671721321
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Raised in the backcountry, Faia Rissedote wants nothing more than her sheep, her childhood hills, and her freedom, but when a plague paralyzes her village, she knows she must act fast. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars OK
I think this is one of Ms. Lisle's earlier works. I started out really liking it, but didn't like it by the end. I can't really tell you why - except perhaps that I'm a prude, and I felt that Faia, the main character, has little to no sexual morals. But hey, that's just me. Lisle's work really increases in strength over the years. It's almost hard to believe that the same woman who wrote this also wrote the rather depressing and devastating Diplomacy of Wolves.

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this book
Faia is a simple shepherdess in a very rural village. One day she takes her sheep out to pasture and when she comes back months later, its to find a silent village. The plague had come to her town, brought in by a traveling saleman. Her family, her friends, all gone, all in their beds unburied. All but one shepherd about three years younger who had just come back from the pastures like she did. There is no other option than to leave the village and the bodies as is. But as they leave, she becomes so angry she uses magic to destroy the village. She used so much that areas hundreds of miles away loose all magical power. This sets all the folk into a tizzy. Once power starts to return, they track her down. Once they hear her story, the mages (women magical users) convince her to come with them to the university to control her powers so she would not accidentally harm others.

Ariss is divided into two sides - the mages and the sages (men magicians). Absolutely no intermingling with each other. In fact, mages are thrown out if they become pregnant. Hatred runs high between them because of a war that occurred 400 years before that each side blames on the other for starting but no one knows for sure what happened. So there are, as Faia thinks, a bunch of "lonely old virgins" on both sides.
Mages and hedge witches have come up dead in grotesque ways. The mages blame the sages for it, the only solution is war and completely obliterating the sages. Faia and Medwind, the only two mages who had actually had experiences with men, try to stop this war before it starts.

I had read Holly's The Secret Text trilogy and when I saw her name on this book at the used bookstore, I snatched it up. Unfortunately, I let it sit on my shelf for quite some time. But I finally read it last week and am so thankful that I did and am kicking myself for waiting so long. This book is wonderful. I am a romance kind of girl myself, but even though it really doesn't have romance or the HEA ending (other than the whole good triumphing over evil thing), good characters died, and I cried, I loved it. I usually gloss through pages of writing where there are no speaking, but not here. I was completely engrossed, absorbing every single word. So overall, the book is worth the time, is worth the money, and is definitely worth these five little golden stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wild!
With all twists and turns, Holly Lisle, writes another trilogy which i found most exciting. The whole book keeps you asking questions until it builds up upon the real villian.

Faia (main charcter) is a simple shepherd girl with wild magic coursing through her veins, but when plague strikes her home town and she returns to find everything and everyone she ever loved dead...
Well lets just say its not pretty. Struck down with despair Faia finds only one other survivor of her home town and together they go off to find a better life.

But that doesn't happen for the mages and sajes of Ariss have tracked her down. Faia is forced to return with the mages to Ariss where the magic that runs through her blood can be controlled.

However Faia doesn't find it easy in her new home, espeacially when murders have been taking place and it could result in war between the two cities of Ariss: Mage Ariss and Saje Ariss.

Its all very exciting and very suspense full and definetly full of suprises. I defintely recomend this book to any fans of "The Secret Texts" trilogy and other readers who enjoy female heroines for a change!

5-0 out of 5 stars Magical read!
Fire in the Mist, an early fantasy novel by Holly Lisle, is a delight!Fire in the Mist is filled with engaging characters, especially the main character:Faia Rissedote.Others, also interesting and memorable in their own way, are Medwind Song, Yaji Jennedote, and Rakell and her cat (with hands) Flynn.Even the villain of the novel has some sympathetic qualities.

Besides intriguing, realistic characters, is the excellent play of foreshadowing and plot twists.

The mage academy Daane is equally interesting, so is the unfolding history of Ariss, and the magic that exists in this world, as well as the people who wield it.

If there isn't a sequel, I wish there were.

Fire in the Mist is an excellent novel, and I encourage everyone who likes fantasy, originality, and Holly Lisle's other works, to read this one soon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Poignant
The poignant start to this story, is fitting for this tragic heroine. I felt so sad for her intro where she discovers magic/power (lets just say it's not a happy experience). It felt like a tide that was drownding this character....but she always kept trying to keep her head above the water. I have re-read this book several times, and enjoy it every time. This hero isn't someperfect paladin. She has accidentely precipiated some horrible things, and no matter what good she does that will always be a part of her persona. No don't get me wrong, this book isn't some dark gritty thing, but the characters do have multiple fascits to them. Nothing is absolutly good and has been, and vice versa.I can't recommend this book enough! ... Read more

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