"Alternate universe of virtual reality game comes true"
Gwen Marlowe owns a video gaming shop in Atlantic City,
where the main hit is the virtual reality game Tolemac Wars
II. The game is especially popular with women, who adore
Vad, the angelically beautiful warrior hero of the game. In
the midst of a major storm, Gwen finds a semiconscious and
very confused Vad look-alike inside her shop's virtual
reality game chamber. She assumes he is the actor she hired
to play Vad at her Tolemac-themed costume ball that night.
His constant remarks about his "honor" and his strange
behaviour (such as attributing modern appliances and
vehicles to magic or the gods) could be taken as part of
his devotion to his role. The situation changes after the
ball, when Vad insists he must return to his own home and
Gwen is accidentally zapped back with him to the alternate
world of Tolemac.
Tolemac is similar to ancient Norse societies of legend,
except for fantasy elements like multiple suns. Despite the
frequent (and sometimes confusing) allusions to Arthurian
legends (try reading all those place names backwards), this
is not a medieval European world. It is also a place where
women have no control or position -- they are either slaves
or the powerless possessions of their fathers or husbands.
Gwen has quite understandable problems accepting the
restrictions and conventions of Tolemac, and determines to
show Vad that women can also have honor and play important
Once the pair are in Tolemac, the story becomes an action
adventure. Vad and Gwen must deal with the puzzle of a
missing magician, escape devious villagers, help the
princess of the neighboring land of Selaw save her father
from evil influences, rescue kidnapped maidens, defeat an
evil wizard, find a hidden map, and embark on a quest to
locate mythical treasures of the gods. There is also the
mystery of Vad's unknown origins and his link to our "real"
world. Through all this, the sexual tension between the two
of them builds, as Gwen struggles with her position in this
society and Vad resists his attraction to a woman who can
only be a "slave" and never his wife. My only complaint
with the action was that it seemed to end too abruptly --
the defeat of the villain was rushed and a lot of questions
Virtual Desire is the sequel to Virtual Heaven. During the
early part of the book that takes place in Gwen's Atlantic
City, the author did a good job of filling in the back
story and introducing the situation and characters.
However, once in Tolemac, I was sometimes at a loss about
how that society functioned and why certain things were
said or people behaved as they did. There were also a few
instances when Gwen seemed to know things she shouldn't
have (unless she had read Virtual Heaven). I would
recommend that people read the books in the proper
sequence. Considering some of the situations left open at
the end of this story, another book in the series seems a
Reviewed by Raelene G. © February 2002
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted October 30, 2006
He went in search of his honor... and found love.
THE TRUE BEAT OF A WARRIOR's HEART
His silver blond hair blew back from his magnificent face.
His black leather breeches hugged every inch of his well-
muscled thighs. He was every woman's fantasy; he was the
virtual reality game hero Vad. And Gwen Marlowe found him
snoring away in her video game shop.
She knew he must be a wacky wargamer out to win the Tolemac
warrior look-alike contest. But the passion he ignited in
her was all too real. Swept into his world of ice fields
and formidable fortresses, Gwen realized Vad was not
playing games. On a quest to clear his name and secure
peace in his land, he and Gwen must forge a bond strong
enough to straddle two worlds. A union built not on
virtual desire, but on true love.