The Twelve Houses Series

The Twelve Houses Series

The Twelve Houses Series is a fantasy series by Sharon Shinn.
* Mystic and Rider (Ace Books, 2005)
* The Thirteenth House (Ace Books, 2006)
* Dark Moon Defender (Ace Books, 2006)
* Reader and Raelynx (Ace Books, 2007)


Mystic and Rider

King Baryn sends Senneth on a mission to discover the mindset of the twelve marlords of Gillengaria about a potential revolution – and towards mystics. The king orders two of his best Riders to escort her - Tayse and Justin. Serramarra Kirra and her companion Donnal volunteer to accompany them. Along their journey they find Cammon and bring him with them.

The group discovers the southern marlords are more supportive of the idea of rebellion while the northern marlords stand with the king. Meanwhile, Senneth and Tayse fall in love. But first Senneth must convince Tayse he is not unworthy of her.

The Thirteenth House

The king requests Senneth accompany his daughter on her first tour of Gillengaria. Everyone from their previous group – Tayse, Justin, Kirra, Donnal, and Cammon – comes with them. Kirra, however, is disguised as her sister, Casserah. She falls in love with Romar Brendyn, appointed regent by the king. Romar is married, however.

When Romar’s wife comes to Kirra asking to be cured of her sterility – caused by a deadly disease – Kirra must make the right choice and save her life, though it costs her her only chance at being with the man she loves.

Dark Moon Defender

Justin is sent to spy on Coralinda Gisseltess and her convent of Pale Mother worshippers. He meets and befriends Ellynor, a young Lirren girl sent to the convent to watch over her flighty cousin Rosurie. Justin later figures out that she is a mystic, and helps her escape from the convent.

Ellynor and Justin fall in love, but since Justin is outside the sebahta-ris, or clan network, or the Lirrens, their love would result in a fight to the death between Justin and a male relative of Ellynor’s. Senneth discovers that the two can be married if Ellynor declares her self bahta-lo – free of the clan.

Reader and Raelynx

The king decides to attempt to divert the coming civil war by marrying his daughter off to one of the southern marlords. Cammon is assigned to read the intentions of Princess Amalie’s suitors. Unfortunately, he and the princess soon fall in love themselves.


enneth Brassenthwaite

Senneth is a powerful mystic who specializes in the use of fire. She draws her power from the Bright Mother, of sun goddess. She is a former serramarra of the House of Brassenthwaite, but was expelled by her father at the age of seventeen after he killed her newborn illegitimate son in a fit of rage. After leaving her home, she wandered Gillengaria and eventually crossed into the Lirrens. She was adopted by one of the sebahta and had to declare herself bahta-lo to prevent herself from being married off by her well-intentioned adopted family. She went to Danalustrous to act as tutor to Kirra and Donnal for a few years, and began to serve the king.


Tayse is a King’s Rider, one of the elite 50 soldiers selected to work for the king himself. His father and grandfather were Riders before him, and he never doubted his desired career. He is very quiet and solemn most of the time, and is an excellent warrior.

Kirra Danalustrous

Kirra is a stunningly beautiful serramarra who possesses the ability to shape-shift and heal. When she was young she learned about a young mystic like herself living in a village within Danalustrous and summons him to live with her in Danan Hall. This mystic is Donnal, and from then on he becomes unwaveringly loyal to her. Kirra is very close to her father and younger sister, Casserah, but is constantly restless in contract to their homebodyness. After she leaves Romar forever, she realizes she loves Donnal.


Donnal is Kirra’s companion and protector. He loves her and is completely loyal to her. He also possesses the ability to shape shift.


Justin is the son of a prostitute who died when he was ten. He spent his youth learning to fight and steal, when one day he tried to rob Tayse. Instead of killing him, the older man took Justin back to the palace and trained him as a King’s Rider. As a result, Justin is unswervingly loyal to Tayse and the king. He first meets Ellynor when she is molested on the streets by a low-ranking nobleman and he saves her. They begin to meet in secret and soon fall in love. He is attacked on the way home from visiting her and she saves his life with her healing powers.


Cammon has the ability to sense the emotions and intentions of others. He is also able to enhance the powers of other mystics and can communicate with people over long distances. He was born outside Gillengaria. His father died when he was young, and he traveled with his mother until she died as well. He hired himself to a tavernkeeper and worked there until he was taken along with Senneth’s group.


Ellynor is a native Lirren girl who comes to the Lumanen Convent to watch over her flighty cousin, Rosurie. She discovers she is a mystic and flees with Justin. She decides to declare herself bahta-lo so she can marry Justin.

Princess Amalie

Princess Amalie is the daughter of King Baryn and his late wife. She shows an astonishing amount of calm and lack of fear. She is rather naïve, having lived in the palace her whole life.

Minor Characters

*King Baryn – The aging king of Gillengaria. He is a good king who wants what is best for his people. He hopes to prevent a war at all costs.
*Queen Valri – King Baryn’s mysterious new wife. She has a great amount of concern for Amalie’s safety. Later Ellynor reveals that she is originally from the Lirrens.
*Casserah Danalustrous – Kirra’s younger half-sister. They are very close. Kirra disguises herself as Casserah so that she won’t have to leave Danalustrous to make the circuit of Gillengaria and meet all the marlords.
*Halchon Gisseltess – The evil marlord of Gisseltess, he wishes to overthrow the king and marry Senneth. He possesses some kind of ability to dampen the power of mystics.
*Coralinda Gisseltess – The sister of Halchon and founder of the Lumanen Convent. She hates mystics with a passion and orders the torture and murder of all mystics.
*Rosurie – Ellynor’s cousin. She is sent to the Lumanen Convent to keep her away from her unsuitable lover. She becomes a fanatic, shaving her head and denouncing her own cousin as a mystic, though it means Ellynor will die.


*The Pale Mother – Goddess of the moon. She hates mystics.
*The Bright Mother – Goddess of the sun. She gives the power of fire.
*The Wild Mother – Goddess of animals. She gives the power to shape-shift.
*The Dark Watcher – Goddess of the night. She gives the power of concealment and the gift of healing.
*Unknown goddess – gives the power of plant growth.

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