"a terrific tale of fantasy adventure"

Merianne flees her home planet of Incolai and the oppressive Truebloods with her three daughters, after the death of her husband, Kier. Kier was a member of the Trueblood, the other—respected and feared and hated by many— race on the segregated Incolai. Merianne believes that as lesserbloods, her children don't posses supernatural talents.

On the planet of Vuetha, her daughters meet and introduce her to Thorne, a scientist who moves from planet to planet studying new possibilities for plant life. Thorne is attracted to Merianne, although she likes him and knows her daughters adore him she is quite skittish, only in part because he so resembles the Truebloods she fears.

To Merianne's dismay, she finds out her children do possess "talents"; sensory specialties that help them see people's emotions or better understand solids or liquids. She fears that Cyrielle, the Trueblood leader will take them away from her to train their "talents", and Merianne knows they need training or their "talents" could destroy them. She and Thorne are thrown more closely together after the children are kidnapped during an outing. Thorne vows to save her children for her in hopes of showing her his love. Slight problem: his job requires him to travel from planet to planet for research, and she craves nothing more than a stable home for her family.

The results are in: Ainsley Davidson's debut novel, A GREATER ART, is a terrific tale of fantasy adventure. The book has a steady, fast pace and plenty of descriptive world-building details. She does a great job of describing planets and peoples, and it's clear she's spent much time on these worlds. Her characters jump off the page: Thorne with the loneliness he hides under his love of travel and Merianne with her shy vulnerability and gentleness. The girls too are alive with personality: the ebullient Beli, the solemn Eda and the studious Mayu. I liked all of the main characters and background characters as well. Her dialogue takes on the form it needs for each situation whether it's serious or playful.

Davidson has mastered the art of flow; the story moves quickly and efficiently, giving the reader just enough time to take in each situation before taking the next turn. And she withholds enough detail, so you think you know what will happen, but you're just not completely certain. I look forward to more books by Davidson.

Reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Posted October 24, 2008


Newly widowed, Merianne refuses to surrender her young Lesserblood daughters to the brutal Trueblood training. She knows her children cannot have the Talents. Fleeing the deeply segregated society of Incolai, she makes a new life for her family on a backwater planet. Her fragile peace is shattered when she learns the girls are Talented.

Without instruction, her children's unique sensory abilities might destroy them. The last thing Merianne needs is a man--least of all the enigmatic freesearcher, Thorne. But when the children are kidnapped, Merianne and Thorne are pitched into danger, intrigue and undeniable love.

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A Greater Art
by Ainsley Davidson

Amira Press
September 1, 2008
Available: September 5, 2008
ISBN #1934475920
EAN #9781934475928
220 pages
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