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Sharon Shinn
Samaria Series
Archangel

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Archangel
Angels and men exist in harmony on the world of Samaria. Every twenty years, a new Archangel is chosen to govern the land and lead all the people of Samaria in a great musical chorale to honor the god Jovah. But Gabriel, the Archangel-elect, finds himself constantly feuding with Rachel, the bride who has been chosen for him by Jovah—and he is slowly coming to realize that the aging Archangel Raphael has no intention of giving up his power, even if it means all of Samaria could be destroyed.

Publishing history: Published as a trade paperback in 1996 and a mass market paperback in 1997. Available in British and German editions as well. One of the reasons I was nominated for the William Campbell Award for best new writer for two years in a row. Still my most popular book.

Interesting tidbit: I was singing Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” in a community choir while I was writing this book, which is clearly where I got the inspiration for all the choral sequences.

My favorite scene: The one where Rachel wakes up under Gabriel’s wing. That’s actually the scene I had in my head most clearly before I started writing the book, so it’s the scene that I worked backward and forward from as I came up with t e rest of the story.

Samaria timeline: I always think it’s best to read the Samaria books in the order in which they were written: Archangel, Jovah’s Angel, The Alleluia Files, Angelica, and Angel-Seeker. But I know some readers have enjoyed reading them according to the chronology of the stories: Angelica, Archangel, Angel-Seeker, Jovah’s Angel, Alleluia Files. There’s also a novella, “Fallen Angel,” which was written last but chronologically would appear after Angel-Seeker.

Jovahs Angel

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Jovah’s Angel
More than a hundred years after the time of Rachel and Gabriel, Samaria is in deep turmoil. Charismatic Archangel Delilah has been injured and forced to give up her position, and she has been replaced by shy, uncertain Alleluia. What’s worse, ungovernable storms are sweeping across the country, and the god never seems to hear the angels’ pleas to abate the bad weather. Unless those prayers are offered by the new Archangel...

Publishing history: Published as a trade paperback in 1997 and a mass market paperback in 1998. Also available in British and German editions. Cover artist John Jude Palencar was nominated for a Chesley Award for the artwork.

Interesting tidbit: What I find intriguing about this book is that there’s no villain. There’s no power struggle between ambitious individuals. It’s all about man vs. the environment, with a healthy dose of man vs. faith.

My favorite scene: Alleya’s second trip to Jehovah and their discussion about religion.

Alleluia Files

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The Alleluia Files
As the centuries have passed, some of the people of Samaria have begun to suspect that their god Jovah is really a spaceship orbiting the planet. Archangel Bael seeks to destroy the small dissident sect of Jacobites that spreads this heretic philosophy. Bael is particularly interested in arresting one of the young Jacobites named Tamar, but she falls under the protection of the angel Jared, who just might be named the next Archangel. At the same time, the angel Lucinda learns that her mother was a Jacobite—and Lucinda herself might have the key to uncovering the truth about Jovah.

Publishing history: Published as a trade paperback in 1998 and a mass market paperback in 1999.

Interesting tidbit: When that gorgeous cover flat arrived, I took it around the office where I worked at the time and said, “Would this image make you want to read this book?” One of my co-workers said, “It makes me want to meet the model.” I got my copy of the trade paperback signed by JJP, so it’s a highlight of my library.

My favorite scene: The scene where Lucinda and Tamar meet for the first time. Though I also love the extended section in Ileah between Jared and Tamar.

Angelica

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Angelica
More than a hundred years before Archangel, Samaria is visited at random intervals by mysterious strangers dressed all in black. They appear and disappear, leaving behind fires of utter destruction. The Archangel Gaaron is glad that his new Edori bride, Susannah, is a calm and capable woman who can help him through this crisis, while aiding him in the impossible task of controlling his wild sister Miriam. What Gaaron doesn’t know is that Susannah, who still mourns for her former lover, has a secret connection to the god Jovah—a secret that could save the whole planet. He also doesn’t know that his runaway sister has met one of the invaders and is prepared to risk everything to keep him alive.

Publishing history: My first hardcover! Published originally in 2003 and followed by a mass market paperback in 2004.

Interesting tidbit: Readers who know Archangel extremely well will recognize that Susannah’s story is referenced in that book. Because I had already stated that the Archangel in Susannah’s time was also called Gabriel, I was stuck with that for my hero’s name, but I didn’t want to confuse my readers! Hence, Gabriel Aaron’s nickname “Gaaron,” which I came to really like.

My favorite scene: The chapter where Miriam’s friends have a sleepover in Susannah’s room and Susannah learns how Gaaron protected Miriam when they were growing up. I love that we learn so much about Gaaron and he’s not even in the room.

Angel Seeker

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Angel-Seeker
Elizabeth has arrived at the new angel hold of Cedar Hills, determined to improve her lot in the world by seducing an angel and bearing his baby. To her surprise, she learns that she might be able to earn her keep instead by becoming a healer. Meanwhile, one of the Cedar Hills angels, Obadiah, has been sent by the Archangel Gabriel to try to make peace with the quarrelsome Jansai tribes. Obadiah unexpectedly meets and falls in love with a rebellious Jansai girl named Rebekah, who would be put to death if her family knew she was seeing an angel. Everything changes one fateful day when Elizabeth, Rebekah, and Obadiah all come together.

Publishing history: Published in hardcover in 2004 and as mass market paperback in 2005. Won the 2004 Reader’s Choice Award from the Romantic Times for Best Science Fiction Novel.

Interesting tidbit: This is my favorite of the Samaria books. I originally planned to have a Jansai-angel romance as a subplot in Angelica, but that book was already so long that I knew it wouldn’t fit.

My favorite scene: Two, actually. I love the scene where Elizabeth first takes the angel David as her lover, because it’s so tawdry and unromantic, and because it shows how much willpower she has (if only she could turn it to better uses!) And then, of course, the single and very brief scene where Elizabeth, Obadiah, and Rebekah are all on stage at the same time.

Fallen Angel

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"Fallen Angel"
"Fallen Angel" was published in the romance anthology To Weave a Web of Magic. It’s sent in Samaria about eighteen years after Archangel. I envision Jesse as a young Russell Crowe, which made him a delight to write.

© 2010 Sharon Shinn, All Rights Reserved