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REVIEW

"Virtually Astonishing Debut!"

Few books are able to surprise me the way this one did. Nothing is quite the way it appears to be in this excellent debut adventure. I am anxiously awaiting the sequel.

Ocean City businesswoman Maggie O'Brien is convinced by a friend to spend a little time in a virtual reality booth for relaxation. Maggie is a bit familiar with the popular Tolemic Wars game, i.e. the hero Kered is on a quest and must face many dangerous challenges. She also knows of the mysterious shadow woman who guards his back. Little did she ever expect to be trust into the role when a sudden thunderstorm propels her into the game.

The hero, Kered, is a highly respected warrior who has tired of the constant warfare, and seeks a peaceful solution to Tolemac's troubles. Kered wishes to become a member of the council so that he may use his influence to this end. In order to gain a position he must first fulfill a quest.

Arm rings are the symbol of status in his world. He must find a legendary sword and a stolen cup, to earn the additional armbands that would give him the status necessary to be considered a viable candidate for a seat on the council.

Maggie arrives without any armbands, the mark of a slave. She arrives at Hart Fell the home of the wizard Nilrem, shortly before Kered, who is seeking his advice. Nilrem convinces Kered to take Maggie on his quest. Kered assumes that she is a runaway. The independent Maggie is dismayed at the position she finds herself in and her perceived lack of status, but has no choice but to follow him on his quest. She has somehow retained the game gun and Kered finds it to be an impressive weapon. He is even more impressed with the way Maggie wields it. His admiration for her skill begins to change his perception of her. Though he continues to believe she is a slave, he finds it difficult to fight their totally inappropriate attraction to each other.

Things heat up as Kered's rival throws obstacles their way. At last Kered can no longer bear to see Maggie endangered. Against her will he sends her back. But can Maggie go back to her old life without him? Maggie seeks a way to get back into the game. This leads her to the graphic artist, Derek, who created it. Upon meeting, the two have the feeling they've met somewhere before.

The plot has many layers, making it impossible to predict the conclusion. The virtual world is a far cry from the political correctness of our own. Thus the tale evokes a myriad of emotions. The reader will rejoice at Maggie and Derek's inevitable triumph and I think they will enjoy the little word play the puts us to mind of another great mythical world of long ago.

Copyright 2000

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted June 28, 2001

SUMMARY

The warrior loomed over her. His leather jerkin, open to his waist, revealed a bounty of chest muscles and a corrugation of abdominals. Maggie O'Brien's gaze jumped from his belt buckle to his jewel-encrusted boot knife, avoiding the obvious indications of a man well-endowed. Too bad he was just a poster advertising a virtual reality game.

Maggie had always thought such male perfection could exist only in fantasies like Tolemac Wars. But then the game took on a life of its own, and she found herself face-to- face with her perfect hero. Now it would be up to her to save his life when danger threatened, to gentle his warrior's heart, to forge a new reality they both could share.

 

Virtual Heaven
(Tolemac Wars: Book 1)
by Ann Lawrence

Dorchester
May 1, 1999
Available: November 1, 2006
ISBN #0505523078
EAN #9780505523075
393 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Ann Lawrence

Do You Believe?
Lord of the Keep
Lord of the Hunt
Virtual Warrior
Lord Of The Mist
Virtual Desire
Paradise


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