Jane Lindskold's world of magic based on the Chinese zodiac and mahjong continues to fascinate even as it confuses. I can't quite get a handle on the supernatural world she has created, but as long as you suspend disbelief and don't try to make sense of it, it's an enjoyable ride. Brenda Morris and her friends who are descendants of the Thirteen Orphans, exiles from the Lands Born of Smoke and Fire, have come to an uneasy truce with their former enemies and now work together to try to get them back to their homeland, which they hope to be able to return to as well. To do this they have to open the Nine Gates that will allow them to travel between the two worlds. But they have been attacked by soldiers from the Lands who do not wish them to return, and later discover another more deadly supernatural threat. Meanwhile, the guardians of Earth's indigenous magics, suspicious of their motives and greedy for the Orphans' power, try to hinder their efforts and use blackmail to gain their lore. This story is full of intriguing magic and strong characters that make it an interesting read.