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Wrapt in Crystal (Ace Science Fiction) Mass Market Paperback – 1 May 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 1 May 1999
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books (May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441006167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441006168
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 2.3 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,814,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Interfed Agent Cowen Drake journeys to a distant, unfamiliar world ruled by a stark spirituality to catch a serial killer preying on the priestesses of the planet's two religions only, to find himself caught between two remarkable women and torn between duty and desire.

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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"On a planet of barren beauty near the edge of the civilised galaxy, two religions are practiced. Both sects worship the same goddess -- the Triumphantes in joy and splendor, the Fideles in solemnity and selflessness. As different as day and night, sun and shadow, joy and grief, the two sects are now bound together in death ...

A serial killer is stalking the prietesses, killing first a Triumphante, then a Fidele, in turn. Six women are now dead, and the plantary authorities are at a loss. Enter Interfed Agent Cowen Drake. A cunning professional, he must immense himself in an unfamiliar world of stark spirituality to catch the killer. A world that would trap him between opulence and sacrifice, between duty and desire, and between two extraordinary women -- one who could become the killer's ultimate victim ..."
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wrapt in Crystal is a deft blend of mystery and social science fiction, with colorful characters and complex world building. In particular, the Goddess-with-two-faces idea powers the plot through the mysterious deaths of priestesses and the soul-searching of a heroic detective. Shinn's crystal prose is always a delight, and no less in this tale than in her delightful Samaria series. Don't miss this one!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Reminded me of the latter Archangel books 7 April 2013
By LoveBooks - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a very interesting book. I have read almost all of Shinn's novels except for some recent ones. I enjoy her writing and the way she gets me thinking. Her love story's are always epic and heart wrenching. This reminded me of some of the later Archangel books, the religious aspect, the culture, the morals. Not my favorite of hers, but I enjoyed the story.
Sex- A couple of scenes that were not detailed or grafic. Some great kisses. References to prostitution. Sex without marriage.
Violence- This book is about a serial killer so there is some deaths that are not to detailed. But there are some scenes in the book where they go to slums and there is killing and violence. There is a brutal beating of a woman that is sad but not so detailed that it is disturbing.
Language- There is some swearing by the rough crowd in the book so it is scattered and not by our main characters. F word, B word and some sexual slang.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably my favorite Shinn novel, if just for the ending 7 Sept. 2007
By Lilly Flora - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read about this book for years I have no idea why it was so hard for me to read it at first. I would pick it up, put it down, and find a new book to read (something I never do) and then try t again. Something just wasn't clicking for me. Finally I decided that I had read too many books by this author and they were too formulaic somehow. All of Sharon Shinn's heroes are noble, hopelessly, selflessly, charmingly, noble. Admittedly if one must have a hero in a book it is good to make that hero a good man, but the profile with this author is too narrow. You could take a hero out of any of her novels and drop into another one and with the exception of some angel wings, never know the difference.

Only this book is different. To summarize-"Wrapt in Crystal" is about a planet that is on the verge on joining a confederation of planets (think Star Trek) and brining with it a much wealthier planet. But this planet has some reservations. So when priestesses of the major religion on the planet, from both sects of the religion, start turning up murdered the planetary forces strike a deal. A Moonchild investigator (the moonchildren are like the space police) will come and solve the serial killings, and then maybe the planet will federate.

So we meet Cowen Drake, a man who lost his faith a long time ago. Like all of Shinn's heroes he is selfless, smart, charming, and more than a little bit damaged. He's also puzzled about the murdered because on Semay (the planet) the priestesses are sacred and off limits to any kind of violence. There is no discernable reason anyone would want to kill either a joy worshiping Triumphante or a more solemn Fidele. In fact the only clue he has to this mystery is one that doesn't even fit the puzzle-a young Triumphante priestess who disappeared into thin air after unspeakable tragedy.

And as he learns the language and culture of the planet, and becomes friends with two very different amazing priestess ("as different as joy and sorrow") the murdered is coming closer and closer to what he seeks....

I say this book is different because of the spiritual nature of it. Shinn obviously put in a lot of thought to the religion she created and the culture it serves. Not only that but the book raises some interesting issues in and off itself about faith and it is a double edges sword: how easy it is to lose it, or lose yourself in it to avoid life altogether. There's also a current running through this book about light and redemption that is-well, almost spooky because of how appealing it is. I would recommend this book for that aspect along, although the mystery isn't that bad. I figured it out before Drake did, but he was a little distracted, and too be fair I didn't have every element figured out.

So in the end this is a book worth reading. Tragic heroes do have their place after all, and Drake is a great example of that. And the ending is amazing.

Four stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy and Mystery 30 Aug. 2009
By Roseann S. - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Who is killing the priestesses of two opposing religious orders and why? That is the plot basic and Miss Shinn does an excellent job of following clues and developing the relationships between the characters.

I was unsure what to expect from this novel which is a stand alone story unrelated to her other series. It is a very different kind of story from what I usually expect from her. I can't say I enjoyed it as much as her 12 Houses and Archangel series but I did enjoy it on its own merits and thought it was worth a 5 star rating.

If you like her other books you will probably like this one. If you're looking for the most exciting, most adventuresome who done it in town this isn't it. If you are on the fence about buying it I would say take the chance. I was pleasantly surprised when I did.
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoy a variety of science fiction and fantasy books this one made it into my read it again collection. 18 Nov. 2014
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
this was my first Sharon Shinn novel and it made me imagination soar into the world that she wrote. I enjoy a variety of science fiction and fantasy books. this one has made my collection with its twists and real romance. It isn't a typical romance which is why I enjoyed it some much. 'Wrapt in Crystal' is a well written page turner. The best kind of book in my opinion.
4.0 out of 5 stars A SciFi murder mystery with fascinating characters. 26 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Six gory murders, five ceremonial occasions, four Moonchildren, three lovers, two religious sects at odds, and one desert planet clinging to traditional ways make for lovely way to spend a few hours. I throughly enjoyed WRAPT IN CRYSTAL: Sharon Shinn is improving with each book she writes. Who wouldn't fall for her angst-ridden detective, Cowan Drake? Although this is better SciFi than mystery, it works well either way. A little more attention to plot twists and a little less attention to simplistic religious debate would have made this a five star book.
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