St. Martin’s, $7.99
In 1603 immortal warrior Hayden Campbell accompanied by the MacLeod clan invade Cairn Toul Mountain as part of their mop up operation to destroy the remaining Druid supporters of the evil dead Deidre. They are greeted by the eerie sight of dead Druids and one severely injured female.
They take Isla to the MacLeod castle to heal her from Deirdre’s magical assault although Hayden wants to kill her as he has other Druid droughs who sold out to the devil like Deidre did. However, this time Hayden has a personal issue as he wants Isla, but she also is the devil’s minion or as he prays is she?
The latest Dark Sword historical romantic fantasy (see Dangerous Highlander and Wicked Highlander) is a terrific tale of love and redemption. Isla knows what she wants, but Hayden is torn between the soul he sees in her eyes and his centuries old vow of destroying any Drough; Deirdre’s evil shadow makes him hesitant to love her but his heart makes him hesitant to kill her. Fast-paced, fans will relish the Grant Druidic mythology as the deep lead couple and the strong supporting cast makes this a delightful thriller. Harriet Klausner
In the Arizona desert, blonde, blue-eyed Sati hitches a ride. Sati is very choosy with who she picks up as she sits by the side of Highway 10 West. Thus she selects long haul trucker Michael Winters, who has major personal issues.
She informs the skeptical Michael that she is God. Though he questions her sanity, Michael is unsure why but he takes the beautiful female to his Los Angeles apartment. He scornfully demands miracles, but she ignores him as she does not give sight to the blind, etc. Instead, others who meet her begin to change in her presence including his estranged family. She hosts meetings in which refreshments are served. However, when the self proclaimed deity is murdered, all who were in her circle of light realize what she did for them is bring a new hope.
This is a reprint of a delightful 1980s parable. Michael the cynic tells the tale of Sati who brings a deliverance and atonement to those who meet her. Readers of all ages will feel the light of redemption by all in Sati’s presence whether she was God or an enlightened person. Michael and others know she made a difference.
Regent Balthaar Arosh plans to return the Bacosh back to what it was over two centuries ago before the alien serrin of Saalshen ended the ancient system. His forces conquer Enora and Rhodaan, partially because the local populace is divided.
The Lenayin king is dead while most of the army is humiliated by how the kingdom behaved as their neighbors suffered great losses and atrocities. Unable to remain quietly in exile, Sashandra Lenayin returns to lead those soldiers ready to fight against the Regent. This divides the country in the same way the city of Tracato was split as Sasha’s brothers supported by the Verenthane join the side of the Regent.
The final battle that will determine the fate of the Bacosh is in the human border city of Jahnd in the Saalshen. However, for Sasha and her allies to repel the conquerors depends on Ilduur sending its Steel into the fight. Most of the Ilduur rejects joining the war as the mountains protect them from the battles to the north. A desperate Sasha becomes the Lenay warlord as she heads south to plead with the Ilduur to send troops.
The final A Trial of Blood and Steel political military fantasy is a super climax to a powerful saga (see Petrador and Tracato). The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action as the armies of both sides meet for an epic battle that will determine the future of the Bacosh. The irony of this timely saga is the humans support the Regent because he is one of their species though his objective will return them to an age of enslavement while opposing the enlightened serrin who have brought prosperity and freedoms. Besides the nearby Ipshaal River flowing with blood, this thriller is a thought provoking tale. Harriet Klausner
The Alchemist in the Shadows
French Cardinal Richelieu knows his country’s greatest threat does not come from other nations though he does not ignore their danger. The biggest risk to France’s current sovereignty is the Black Claw, a Spanish-based secret group functioning with immunity out of bigger European kingdoms.
When Italian spy La Donna offers information on a plot against the throne; the Captain La Fargue, leader of the Cardinal’s Blades, accepts her terms in the name of His Excellency. She offers to bring their lethal enemy the Alchemist from out of the shadows that conceal his deadly activities and La Donna insists she can provide details. In exchange for information France needs to keep weak King Louis XIII safe, His Excellency must grant her immunity from arrest and especially protect her from the Black Claw assassins.
The second Blades historical fantasy is a terrific blending of political intrigue in early seventeenth century France with draconic magic. The cast is powerful as each of the Blades has different personalities while their enemies especially the shadowy Alchemist seems like a perfect match. Although it helps to have read The Cardinal's Blades to better understand Pierre Pevel’s paranormal Paris, readers will enjoy this exhilarating twisting thriller. Harriet Klausner