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AERIE by Mercedes Lackey

AERIE

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Science Fiction Book Club

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As the priestly city of Sanctuary grows by leaps and bounds—with people arriving daily from all corners of the Two Lands—the Jousters have been forced to move to quarters more appropriate for dragons. With its canyons and rock-carved dwellings, Aerie seems to have been designed with them in mind, but the desert city had been abandoned for centuries and needs restoration.

Though the new Jousters—now a motley collection of young and experienced, Altan and Tian, nobles, former serfs and slaves, and common-born—aren't particularly suited to the task, Dragon leader Kiron is anxious to make their new town livable as quickly as possible, which means back-breaking labor with too few hands, not to mention too few dragons. In the meantime, his lover Aket-ten is after him to start a wing of just female Jousters—a hornet's nest in the making, that. Then there's the question of raising the wild-caught hatchlings—hard work that not every would-be Jouster may be up to.

In the face of all they've accomplished, and all they still must do, the last thing the Jousters need is another problem. But while on patrol, Kiron and his men stumble upon a lone border guard, dead of arrow wounds. When his path is traced using the magical Sight, no evidence that he ever existed can be found. Even more mysteriously, everyone in the man's outpost has vanished, enthralled by a power never before encountered. Could some of the Magi have survived? Or could it be the magic of the Nameless Ones, from whom the Magi may have learned their tricks?

A storm of evil is brewing in the east, and only one steeped in the darkest arts can discern whom the enemy might be. The Jousters and their dragons were trained for combat, but this will be a war unlike any they have ever fought…. (Approx. 304 pp.) 2006.

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