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As political unrest threatens the country of Vonahr and peasant-philosophers publicly question the innate magical powers of the Exalted ruling class, young noblewoman Eliste vo Derrivale concerns herself with truly important matters--her debut at the Royal Court of Sherreen--blissfully unaware of the violence that will soon shatter her privileged life. Volsky's ( The Sorcerer's Lady , Ace: Berkeley, 1986) latest novel, a fantasy re-creation of the French Revolution, captures the atmosphere of a world in turmoil. The fantasy element is understated but integral to the plot, as magical and political illusions vie for supremacy. Like Ursula K. Le Guin's Malafrena (Putnam, 1979) and Orsinian Tales ( LJ 10/1/76), this quasihistorical adventure should have considerable crossover appeal. Recommended for most libraries.

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