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REVIEW

"A Wonderfully Different Story"

The Distant Past
Boy is gathered around a fire with a group of his friends. He is a slave; one whose master is very cruel. He is forced to steal and to wear a tight leather collar around his neck, so that he will not be tempted to eat any of his plunder. Boy has recently come face to face with his own mortality. For the first time he has witnessed the consequences of being a thief. His choices are grim, death from starvation, or beheading if he is caught.

The choice is not to be his. Without warning an enormous presence blots out the night sky. The stars are no longer visible as the giant wizard reaches out his hand, depositing the entire group into his pocket. Boy's life begins anew.

The Present
Our heroine, Maggie, has retreated under the covers of her old bed in her mother's home. She's so distraught that she doesn't even realize she's been there for nearly a month! She's still reeling from the consequences of canceling her wedding to her employer...No wedding, no job, and no money. She's can't even explain to herself why she did it.

Enough is enough, Maggie is a grown woman, and her mother really wants to sell the house. It's time for Maggie to get her life back together. In an effort to shake her out of her doldrums, Maggie's mom presents her with a wedding gift. This is no ordinary gift. It is non-returnable, having been given by a great aunt - who died fifty years ago!

Maggie finally accepts that it's time to get up and face life again, but in doing so she knocks the strange gift to the floor. It appears to be a box full of dust. But when Maggie turns away from the window she's opened to clear the air, she finds a naked man in her bed. Now she knows she's having a nervous breakdown!

Boy no longer has to fear for his life. He's a jinni. The leather collar he once wore is now silver, but in essence he is still a slave. The required fifty years has passed and Boy has another master for whom he must grant three wishes.

He is now a grown man and has grown clever in the passing years. He's learned to interpret his master's wishes in ways meant to punish them for their greed and ill treatment of him. If he wants to remain free of the box for any length of time he must either please his new master or trick her.

Maggie is different from Boy's previous masters. She won't make a serious wish. She doesn't even believe he's real! She does request that he choose a name for himself. If she's going to be talking to an imaginary man then at least she has to have something to call him. He declares a preference for the name Tom.

Maggie is stunned to find that others can see Tom too. Her mother readily assumes that he's the entire explanation for the cancelled wedding.

Tom persists with the notion that he's a jinni whose obligation is to grant her wishes. Maggie decides that perhaps he's the one who's lost his mind, or at least his memory. She finds that she likes him and decides to help him find out who he is so that he can leave. By the time she comes to terms with who he really is, it's far too late. She's lost her heart. By the time she makes her first wish, Tom knows he could never use a wish to harm her. Either way he'll have to face leaving her or losing her.

Naturally a relationship between the two could never work. Maggie wants a normal life, security, and a family. She'll age while Tom stays young. They're just too different and she's afraid to take a chance. She seems to be the only person in town who can't see beyond the obvious, to the man inside. But there is still that one last wish...

This story was wonderfully different. Tom is very powerful, but remains as innocent and sweet as a boy in spite of it. He's also very sexy and often hilariously funny. Maggie is cautious but caring, very human indeed. She's not accustomed to spontaneity, always weighing the smallest decision. Throw in an ex-fiancé who reappears long enough to tempt Maggie with his normality, and you've got fireworks. Can Maggie afford to risk her heart? Can she afford not to? What will her final wish be? The ending is as unpredictable as Tom himself. A recommended read.

Copyright © 2000

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted September 7, 2001

SUMMARY

Is Maggie Yates suffering from a complete nervous breakdown or is a naked jinn offering to grant her three wishes? The only alternative she's willing to consider is she has a nut in her bedroom. In either case, it's time to panic!

Tom has had more names than he can remember and several masters he'd like to forget. The only thing he hates more than granting wishes is returning to the obis to wait for another fool to call him. When he meets his latest master, however, he discovers wishes have their charms, but he can only grant three before his curse separates them forever.

Can Tom trick Maggie into forgoing her third wish until she's an old woman? Or maybe, just maybe, has he found the one person who loves him enough to risk setting him free?

 

At Your Command
by Christine W. Murphy

Hard Shell Word Factory
December 1, 2001
ISBN #0759904200
EAN #9780759904200
e-Book (reprint)
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Other Books by
Christine W. Murphy

Cast in Steel, Carved in Stone
Cast in Steel, Carved in Stone
For the Emperor


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