If you like historical fiction this is a great read about the life of a Russian woman, Grusha, and her son, Stepan, set in the 16th century. Grusha has been a slave for the Kolychev clan but following the death of her husband, Grusha’s primary concern is her son and this choice governs all the decisions she makes. Needing to provide for her son and to be safe, she joins a Tartar Horde and the two begin a nomadic lifestyle. She quickly discovers that she has a gift and apprentices with the Horde Shaman. Taking her skills and calling seriously, she leaves behind most of her Orthodox roots to embrace those of a Shaman.
Lesley has done an excellent job of developing both the setting and the characters in this novel. Her research on history is very accurate, adding to the delight of the story. She also deals well with the divide between the spiritual worlds of the shaman and more orthodox beliefs. This is a well written, strong read.