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REVIEW

"a rich and unconventional elfin magic story"

Elfin Crown Prince Terran of Diraenia is still in mourning eight months after losing his fiancée accidentally killed under suspicious circumstances at his jealous younger brother, Unwin's, hands. He's at odds with his father King Liam, who wants him to meet the princess from neighboring Asuria in the hopes that the pair will make a perfect marriage match and ease strained relations between the two kingdoms. Reminded that should he not marry and produce an heir by his thirtieth birthday the crown will forfeit to Unwin, Terran agrees to a meeting. He has not, however, forgotten the strange Zal woman who has been haunting his dreams for the last eight months, and driven by the drums of Diraenia or Nitesh -- "the heartbeat of the land" -- he sets out to search for her two weeks before the Asurian princess is due to arrive.

Taken captive by Asurian forces during an unsanctioned assault on her village, Thalassa is a magical young woman from the coast of Zal who has had a far from easy life. She was abused by her father and almost raped during one of his drunken rampages. Her mother, browbeaten most of her life but not defeated, rises up against her husband and stabs him in the back to protect her daughter. She is consequently executed for murder, leaving Thalassa an orphan alone in the world and at the mercy of her father's brutal brother, Doloth who makes her his betrothed.

Grieving and dreading her upcoming nuptials, Thalassa's heart and soul is soothed and won by a chance meeting with a well-off stranger in a dark lonely alley on the border of Zal. The stranger is Terran, unbeknownst to Thalassa at the time, the heir to the Diraenian throne.

For a few glorious days, Terran and Thalassa find comfort and solace in each other's arms, away from their painful pasts and the prospect of empty and mournful futures without each other. At the end of three days, each goes back to their own world -- Terran to his kingdom Diraenia and Thalassa back to her betrothed in Zal -- taking with them enough passionate and tender memories to last them a lifetime. Never once do they realize that together they will unite the region, bring a lost-and-presumed-dead son back to his kingdom and reunite him with his father the king.

Francis has written a rich and unconventional must-read for fans of elfin magic and poignant storytelling, skillfully pulling the reader into the urgency of the hero and heroine's plight. She draws out Thalassa's escape -- with fellow captive and Diraenian, Eri -- from evil and lustful Asurian brothers Adrick and Rhaeven, and Terran's desperate search and rescue mission across several regions that culminates at the border of two kingdoms on the verge of war.

NITESH is at once a very sweet and intense romance, made all the more so by the fact that the hero and heroine remain apart until the very end of the book. Francis makes up for this "deficit" with vibrant descriptions of her setting; well drawn and self-contained flashbacks between the hero and heroine; engaging protagonists who frequently communicate across great distances through their magical abilities; and a well-written quest filled with tension. This winning formula is rounded out with gallant and loyal secondary characters and tightly wound subplots of intrigue and romance. The periodic and mysterious appearance of a mythical and seemingly vengeful dragon who lays waste to a couple of villages along the way while saving Thalassa and her traveling companions more than once, tops off NITESH with a nice bow of action, adventure, and suspense.

Reviewed by Gracie McKeever
Posted June 15, 2004

SUMMARY

Although Thalassa, a sea-witch is captured when the warlord Rhaeven sends his troops to her small village, she views it as not much more than what her past life entailed. Married at a young age to a man she did not love, and abused during the relationship, she is secretly glad to see her husband die. Now, pregnant, enslaved, and stricken with a deadly disease, she only waits her own death to release her from her torment.

Terran, the elfin Crown Prince of Diraenia, must choose a mate and produce an heir before his 30th birthday, or forfeit the crown to his youngest brother, Unwin. And time is running out. Terran is 29. His fiance, Elise, is dead, and he believes Unwin responsible. Yet, there is no proof. To make matters worse, Terran's other brother, Sinclair, has disappeared, and Terran fears the worse.

Bothered by a strange, haunting beat of drums, which no one can hear save himself, Terran's thoughts continually turn to a brief encounter with a young woman from Zal. Three days he spent with her, walking her back to her village, and her pre-ordained life there. Three days he spent falling in love with a woman who could never be his. She returned to her village, her waiting husband, and he returned to the palace, and life of emptiness and despair.

But the drums continue to call, and at last, Terran sets out to revisit the village, to see the woman one more time, to bring a close to his questions.

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Nitesh
by JennaKay Francis

Writers Exchange E-Publishing
February 1, 2004
ISBN #1920741852
EAN #9781920741853
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Other Books by
JennaKay Francis

New Beginnings
From the Heart
Gift Of Blood
From The Heart
Free Spirit
A Gift of Blood


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