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Forbidden
A Novel of the Sazi
by Cathy Clamp
TOR Books, $14.99 QPB, 336pp
Published: August 2015

The Sazi are shape-changers, whether born to the condition or made by the transfusion of blood.  To avoid spoilers, I won’t say much more about the series, which is now nine books strong, other than to recommend it, starting with Hunter’s Moon.

  Forbidden takes the storyline in a new direction, as Clair Evans, an undercover agent for the Sazi council, is sent to the town of Luna Lake, which is a refuge for Sazi of all kinds, except that children are going missing.  Claire is wolf Sazi herself and fairly resourceful, especially as she is supported by her clan’s alpha through their telepathic link.  But someone or something in Luna Lake is powerful enough to block or sever links, or worse… redirect them.  Claire quickly realizes things have gone very wrong in this supposed safe haven. Not only is there some sort of invisible monster attacking people, but places, people, and situations just smell wrong. To complicate matters, there is this Sazi wolf named Alek, whose scent is really distracting.

Claire has to maintain her cover story, that she is there to become a teacher; but she also has to establish her place in the local hierarchy before she can be accepted.  This means she has to take part in the challenge of Ascension, on unfamiliar ground, on the same day she is warned not to agree to anything, and not to trust the ones in charge of the challenge.

 It will take more than a single wolf’s nose to get to the source of the trouble, and much more than a lone wolf to deal with it.

Cathy Clamp is a name I love to see on a book cover, ever since reading Blood Song. (You had to ferret about to even find her name associated with that one, originally.) She delivers a pleasing mix of action and danger, romance, characters you root for, well thought out villains, enough ambiguity to keep you guessing, and some surprising twists.  ~~ Chris R. Paige

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