By Sharon Shinn
This volume contains four novellas, each one revisiting one of the worlds Shinn has created for other tales.
"Flight" is set in Samaria, roughly in the same time period as "Archangel," the first of the series of novels set in the world where Angels rule. Salome is a former angel-seeker who wants nothing more to do with them, and tries to keep her niece from making the same mistakes she did.
"Blood" is set in the same world as "Heart of Gold," where patriarchal golden-skinned and matriarchal blue-skinned people live mostly segregated, but uneasily share a large metropolis. A gulden man comes to a city ruled by the indigo to find his mother, who abandoned him when he was just a boy.
"Gold" revisits the world of "Summers at Castle Auburn," taking place sometime later, though not really a sequel to the novel. A princess is sent by her parents to a place of safety during an uprising by a rebellious noble, but the refuge has it's own dangers. The only story that actually centers on a main character from a previous book is
"Flame," in which Senneth, the mystic at the center of "Mystic and Rider" and indeed the entire Twelve Houses series, is shown in a small adventure - though it turns out quite a dangerous one - just before that grand one begins.
Each of these stories has its own charms. I think my favorite might be "Blood," but there aren't any I didn't enjoy. Fans will certainly enjoy revisiting these places, and all of them are complete stories that someone unfamiliar with Shinn's work could also enjoy them. For myself, I'm thinking seriously of going back and rereading all the other books in these worlds