Water Witch by Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice
Mahali is a desert planet with a deep water table that provides the potable water on the planet. It has always been ruled by water witches, people who can actually feel the presence and ebb of the water. But now, all the true water witches have died. Princess Sheria is able to control the water with the computer, but cannot feel it in her bones.
Radi is the Prince Consort and the protector of the kingdom, as well as the Princess. He leaves her to deal with the Tycoon, a man from another planet who has settled on Mahali. The Tycoon wants to increase the amount of water he buys. Radi is aware the plan is not beneficial to the other inhabitants of the country, even if the Tycoon can pay a fair price. Water is too precious.
When Radi’s speedboat crashes as it approaches the Tycoon’s palace, the con woman Deza rescues him. Two other people also survive the crash, including the Princess’ most trusted body guard. Deza and her father had tried to escape the Tycoon when the con they were running started to fall apart. Her father had died when their shuttle crashed. Now Deza carries a small animal, a mbuzi. What she doesn’t tell anyone is that the spirit of her father is now dwelling in the animal, giving her advice on her future.
Radi, his companions, and Deza go to the Tycoon’s dwelling. She once again starts the act of being a lost water witch and enticing the Tycoon’s son. She continues the con as she tries to figure how she can escape. Deza discovers, though, that while she may want to leave the Tycoon’s and his son’s presence, she wants to stay near Radi. Radi, in the meantime, is learning the true depths of the Tycoon’s greed and the danger to the true ruler of Mahali. He has to prevent the treachery that is approaching.
Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice have woven a believable world and enticing characters that please the reader. Water Witch portrays a fantasy world with special magic, that of water divination. The story keeps moving and holds the reader’s interest. Again, I recommend Connie Willis, both on her own or in the books with Cynthia Felice. You won’t be disappointed.