Nalini Singh is one of the few authors I buy in hardcover and without hesitation. Mind you, I have not forgiven her for the awfulness of Kiss of Snow but everyone slips up now and then.
Shield of Winter continues the story line of the problems facing the Psy now that Silence has fallen. The PsyNet has started to fail due to a virulent virus that causes the Psy in the affected areas to go violently insane. No one is safe when the violence takes over with the affected Psy attacking not only other Psy but also any Human and Changeling in the area.
KAleb Krychek and his mate, Sahara, are struggling to find a solution before all Psy are infected by the rapidly spreading virus. Krychek believes that the E (empathic) Psy are the answer but E Psys have been conditioned not to be empaths and no one remembers how their gifts could be used.
Deep in the heart of SnowDancer and DarkRiver territories Krychek brings together a group of Es and their guardian Arrows to try to find a cure before the Psy are lost.
This is also the story of Vasic, an Arrow on the edge, and Ivy, an E Psy who was brutally reconditioned when she first broke Silence.
I enjoyed their story even if it did feel that they achieved a degree of intimacy a little too easily and too quickly. Vasic was the traditional tortured hero and Ivy the traditional heroine who finds her strength in the face of adversity and it absolutely worked for me in this story. I think it worked because their romance wasn’t the whole of this book, the search for a cure for the virus was equally strong and as interesting, maybe even moreso, as the romance.
A lot of familiar faces appear briefly in Winter. Nikita Duncan, Anthony Kyriakis, and Krychek are the interim leaders of the Psy. Hawke and Sienna appear briefly, Lucas and Sascha even travel outside of DarkRiver territory to help the Es and the Arrows. Zie Zen, enigmatic Psy elder, returns on a surprising position. Even Devraj Santos appears.
After writing 12 other books in the same world it is hard to include an expanding cast of characters and no writer should have to but Singh included just enough familiar faces to satisfy the “but what about” factor.
A definite winner.