Having not read The Bear and the Nightingale, I almost passed this one by. Almost. Until I opened it and began to read. I immediately fell for the way this author uses her words, with descriptions that are lush but not off-putting. they draw the reader into the privileged world of long-lost wealthy Moscow in such a way that, simply put, I MUST READ ON. And by the way, after reading this preview, I did go ahead and order the first book. YAY!