Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More from Harriet

Possess Me At Midnight
Shayla Black
Pocket, $7.99
ISBN: 9781416578468

In England, evil mage Mathias apparently eliminated his only adversary who could have prevented him from taking control of all magic practitioners. The Doomsday Brethren Wizard Bram Rion lies in a comatose state following a black smoke assault by Mathias who plans to take over his unconscious rival’s seat on the Wizard Council as the second step of his plan. Once he does that and finds the Doomsday Diary of Morganna le Fey, he will succeed.

However, he makes one tiny miscalculation. Mathias fails to factor in Bram’s sister Sabelle. When Mathias begins his final assault, lowlife warrior Isdernus “Ice” Rykard escorts Sabelle, as a female she can carry the reverent tome, and the comatose Bram to safety. Ice wants her as his mate, but Sabelle cannot say the Binding Words as her brother must bless their union; both know Bram would never accept a lowlife like Ice. However, when Ice is hurt, Sabelle heals him as their bodies and souls unite. The next day he leaves her to draw Mathias away from the siblings.

The newest Doomsday Brethren urban fantasy (see Tempt Me with Darkness and Seduce Me In Shadow) is a superb entry as Bram’s sister and Ice star in what appears top be a bittersweet love story. Both pray Bram lives, but ironically if he does the couple can never be together. Sabelle is brave but Ice heats up the plot with his love for her ultimately affirmed with his version of Dickens final line in A Tale of two Cities: “It is a far, far, better thing than ever I have done” sacrifice to keep his beloved and his chieftain alive. Fans of Shayla Black will relish this enthralling and exciting novel as ice will melt the hearts of all readers. Harriet Klausner

In Great Waters
Kit Whitfield
Del Rey, $15.00
ISBN: 9780345491657

The leaders of Venice broker a deal with the deepsmen to benefit both the landowners and the merfolk. Over the centuries the two races intermingle through marriages with the mer controlling the water. Other countries followed suit to keep a watery invasion from occurring. However, many countries like England began to ban mixed marriages with the offspring to be executed while the mer insist a half-breed must rule the nations of the landsmen bordering on the sea.

After five years under the sea, illegitimate cowardly Whistle becomes Henry when he is placed in England to be quietly put on the throne by his controllers. Blue faced Princess Anne is part of the plot to have puppets as king and queen as rulers of England. However, their handlers never expected Henry or Anne let alone both to prove intelligent and unmanageable as they team up in an unexpected alliance.

This is a terrific alternate historical fantasy that brings the world of Kit Whitfield alive as readers will believe in the existence of the mer. Henry makes his species seem real especially early in the story as he goes from a happy child swimming in the deep blue sea to a frightened displaced illegal immigrant feeling alone while struggling to adapt to the landsmen lifestyle of England. Fans will appreciate the depth of this exciting thriller. Harriet Klausner

Winter Kiss
Deborah Cooke
Signet, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451228437

The doomsday countdown that has lasted for more than a millennium seems to be ending as the shapeshifting dragons appear ready to finally defeat their adversaries the elemental Pyr who risk all to protect the earth. However, one Pry is in self-exile as his assessment is that he poses a danger to his peers. Delaney died, but the slayer Magnus brought him back to life using dragon blood.

Delaney fears Magnus may control him, but he also resolutely hunts the evil slayer with a strong need to destroy the malevolent concoction that returned him from the dead. However, as he stalks Magnus, Delaney meets his probable soul mate Ginger Sinclair who sends him into a firestorm frenzy of desire. They share one hell of a night, but though he wants to stay with her, his mission comes first. Ginger follows him and rushes into battle on the side of her beloved against a dragon.

The fourth Dragonfire “Kiss” firestorm urban romantic fantasy is an exciting tale with a superb ironic twist as Delaney meets his fire mate at perhaps the worst time this could occur. For her sake he leaves her to continue his quest, but underestimates Ginger’s courage and intelligence. She makes this good vs. evil entry work and also makes it very entertaining and compelling. Harriet Klausner

Darkscape Redemption
R. Garland Gray
Medallion, $7.95
ISBN: 9781933836553

In 3211 after serving as a Commander in a clan war, trader Declan de Douglas travels to Planet Forest from his home Braemar Keep on Planet Mars to negotiate a textile agreement between his clan and that of MacKendrick. Although filled with rage due in part to a DNA synthesis, the savage beast is calm every time he meets Fallon MacKendrick. Her father warns her to stay away from the savage as he is too dangerous, his clan deceitful, and besides her dad has completed a betrothal contract for her.

However, she is attracted to “Douglas the Savage”, who reciprocate although he remains filled with guilt over the war and fury re his brother’s DNA infused in him. When Fallon learns Declan has been kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery, she vows to rescue her beloved even as clan warfare seems ready to ignite again. However, in spite of the belief in knowledge is power by both clans, neither realize the real threat comes from a devious third party at a time when the solar system peace is fragile.

The premise behind the Darkscape tales is simply placing pre-Culloden Scotland in outer space; thus clan wars are all over the solar system and where they are not, hostilities are one incident away from exploding. Redemption adds a Romeo and Juliet twist to the mix. Although it helps to read the previous Darkscape science fiction romance (see The Rebel Lord) to better understand the dysfunctional relationships between the feuding clans and the story line is somewhat expected, R. Garland Gray provides readers with a super outer space opera. Harriet Klausner

Dark Passage
Junius Podrug
Forge, Oct 2002, $24.95
ISBN: 0312875142

The agents abduct Marseilles prostitute Marie Gauthier and fly on Air Force One to a top-secret laboratory in New Mexico; there researchers are creating the "synchrotron" time machine. Also kidnapped and taken to the same locale is Israeli engineer David Ben-Dor and former CIA agent John Conway.

The explanation seems over the top to the trio especially when the Feds and scientists insist that the psychopathic Islamic fundamentalist Zayyad brothers broke into the lab and are going back in time to 30 A.D. to assassinate Jesus. Even less believable is the displacement brought forward that confused the shepherd Isaiah. This four is being sent back to 30 A.D. to prevent the insane fanatics from killing the Son of God.

Over the top of Mt. Masada with a zillion subplots from the Land of Enchantment to the biblical land of Salome, Romans, Zealots and a few other rebellious sects, as spins go everywhere in a convoluted way, yet Dark Passage completely grips the audience. The story line is fast-paced even while moving back and forth in time and vivid especially during the biblical era. Fans will want to join the four hunters trying to prevent Islamic fanatics from killing Jesus centuries before the Prophet Mohammed is born. Harriet Klausner

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