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Wrapt in Crystal by Sharon Shinn
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Wrapt in Crystal (original 1999; edition 2000)

by Sharon Shinn (Author)

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465934,463 (3.65)42
Member:EvaW
Title:Wrapt in Crystal
Authors:Sharon Shinn (Author)
Info:Ace (2000), 335 pages
Collections:Read
Rating:***1/2
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Wrapt in Crystal by Sharon Shinn (1999)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Not a particularly interesting book by Sharon Shinn, I much prefer [[summer at castle auburn]].
The story of an intergalactic federate agent trying to solve a series of religious murders on an unaffiliated and technologically somewhat backwards planet.
The murder victims are priestess of two cults worshipping the same goddess, albeit in very different ways. The protagonist falls in love with a priestess of on of the cults, the Fidele, and becomes friends and lovers with the head of the other sect, the Triumphantes, before he solves the case.

The plot as well as the world building left me unimpressed. The detachment of the protagonist made the story seem as remote as he was. And the religious debates and emotional turmoil seemed disingenuous.
Maybe this plays better to the American market, where religion seems to be more present and relevant, but to me it was wooden, unrealistic and somewhat boring.

The writing wasn't too bad, but it was far from inspiring. And the characters seemed more as ideas than real people. ( )
  amberwitch | Mar 31, 2016 |
Cowen Drake has been sent to investigate a serial killer on a planet on the edge of the civilized galaxy. On this planet there are two major religious sects, although both sects worship the same goddess, they do so in opposite ways. The Triumphantes worship with joy and splendor and the Fideles worship in solemity and selflessness. Someone has been killing priestesses of both sects, alternating between the two. Drake has been invited to help the local police force find out who is killing the women and why. The murders have been spaced out approximately three weeks apart and time is running out before another priestess falls victim.

I really enjoyed reading this book. The mystery is interesting and although I figured out a major twist well in advance of the reveal it kept my interest. The characters were interesting and deep. They were well rounded and grew a lot over the course of the novel. There was a lot of interesting discussion of religion and faith as Drake questions the two sects and their different approaches to worship. He struggles with his own lack of faith in a universe that is so large he does not see how one diety or religion can account for it all and he doesn't understand how any god could let so much pain and horror exist in a world. The book goes beyond the mystery and the reader gets to follow along the spiritual and emotional journeys of the main characters as they begin to question their view of the world. I found that I really enjoy novels that cross the police procedural and science fiction genres. I would recommend this book to others, even if science fiction is not your genre of choice, who enjoy ruminating on questions of faith. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 17, 2016 |
It's been a long, long time since I've read Sharon Shinn: indeed, on revisiting her work, I realize I was overdue. This was not quite as good as her Samaria series, or my (perhaps idiosyncratically) personal favorite, Heart of Gold, but that's a relative sort of thing. Wrapt In Crystal is a murder mystery, a romance, and a speculative fiction novel. As a mystery, I appreciate its realisism: Drake does a lot of door-to-door canvassing and searching through records and running up against dead ends. The case unravels with a great twist I probably should have seen, but didn't, so I loved it. As a romance - well, Shinn is one of the only writers who can write romances I want to read. While love stories are all essentially the same, she does a good job at minimizing cliché - her characters fall in love naturally, awkwardly, over time, like real people. I did not love the way that plotline resolved (avoiding spoilers here), but on the other hand I don't think it could have been different. Finally, I always enjoy Shinn's speculative fiction aspects. I specifically do not call them science fiction because (while there are spaceships) her stories are low-science and even low-technology. In this, as in her other writings, she uses human cultures set on other worlds to explore themes of religion, ethics, and social class. And that is where she excells, because far too few writers seem willing to even touch on those things, which are, always have been, and will almost certainly keep on being part of the human experience. I recommend this book, but read the Samaria books first; they are her magnum opus. (Final note: Thank you, Ms. Shinn, for recognizing that people speak different languages. You would not believe how much I adore you for that. But seriously...you could have warped the Spanish a bit more.)

Jovieve shrugged. "Semay is a planet that was colonized by men who traveled thousands of light-years from their homes. If that is not a miracle, what is? But we have been taught that it is science, and science will also explain the mountains erupting and the storms that sweep down from the hills, and the apparitions, now and then, that trouble the devout. No, the Triumphantes are not much disposed to believe in miracles."

Review from my blog, This Space Intentionally Left Blank. ( )
  emepps | Jan 23, 2015 |
This was a Paperbackswap.com book. I enjoy using this service to get books you might not find otherwise. I wasn't sure what to think except I love the author.

I haven't been into Romance books lately, but Sharon Shinn is a fabulous author. I think she is slowly converting me to Sci-Fi/Romance. This book definitely wraps you up into the world of Senya, a desert planet with a serial killer. The main character, Cowen, is sent as the person to check it out. Along the way, he finds the case has more than it's normal twists and turns. He starts to get involved with the locals. I loved the combination of Mystery/Sci-Fi/Romance in this book. This is definitely a good to get lost in book. ( )
  Tiffmeister | Feb 6, 2011 |
I read this book because I am a fan of Sharon Shinn but found this book disappointing. It is a well-written but unexceptional detective story, in which Lt. Cowen Drake, an officer in an elite space corps is dispatched to a backwater planet to determine who is killing priestesses from both of the planet's religious sects, which worship the two faces of the goddess, Ava. The Triumphantes are worldly, wealthy and powerful, while the Fideles are humble, ascetic, and celibate. Drake admires the Fideles, many of whose values he shares, but comes to appreciate the Triumphantes through their leader, who befriends him. As Drake protects the priestesses of the two sects, they help him deal with his own grief. ( )
  espertus | Jul 1, 2009 |
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Targete, Jean PierreCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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This book is for friends who haven't even read it yet: Laurell, Lauretta, Mark, Martha, Tom, Nancy, Debbie, and Gus. Thanks for welcoming me so warmly into the group.
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Travel on the commercial cruiser was excruciatingly slow, but the vast Moonchild fleet made few visits to Semay, and the planet's government had asked that this mission be started, at least, as quietly as possible.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441007147, Mass Market Paperback)

Wrapt in Crystal examines religious faith and the nature of love while providing a riveting murder mystery. Shinn's setting is the desert planet Semay, whose culture and language are mostly Spanish, with some French and Italian influences. Here, two orders of priestesses worship the goddess Ava: the Triumphantes, who live in worldly comfort and celebrate her with joy; and the Fideles, who renounce wealth to serve the poor and see her as the comforter of the hungry, the sick, and the sorrowful.

A serial killer is murdering members of both orders alternately, and Semay has asked Interfed, an alliance of federated planets with an elite peacekeeping force called the Moonchildren, for assistance. Cowen Drake, the Moonchild assigned, is under pressure to solve the case quickly, impressing Semay with the benefits of joining Interfed and keeping the priestesses safe. Though he has lost his own faith, Drake sets out to understand the victims, the orders, and the role of religion in Semay. His guides are the powerful, charismatic Jovieve, head of the Triumphantes, and the self-abnegating, dedicated Laura.

Readers will find the characters compelling, the suspense taut, and the developing love story moving. If you enjoyed Shinn's Samaria trilogy, you shouldn't miss this one. --Nona Vero

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:03 -0400)

Lieutenant Cowen Drake arrives on the planet Semay to investigate a serial killer whose victims are priestesses. The probe leads to romance with two priestesses, one representing the religion of the rich, the other of ascetics.

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