"Promising beginning to Nine Kingdoms romantic Fantasy Saga leaves the reader wanting more"
Lynn Kurland shows her versatility as a writer with this
foray into the realm of romantic fantasy. This book is very
different from her humorous time travel and historical
romances, a lot more intense but totally fascinating.
The kingdom of Tor Neroche is in peril. King Adhemar's
magical sword has lost its power and his brother Miach, the
archmage of the realm, has discovered holes in his
protection spells on their borders as well. Now their only
hope is to find the wielder of the "queen's sword", the
Sword of Angesand, in order to stem the tide of the dark
magic encroaching on the kingdom.
Adhemar departs in search of the wielder, but the king is
soon waylaid. When too much time has passed, Miach takes
the form of a hawk and sets out to find him. Just when he
is about to give up he sites the blaze of magic from the
king's sword. Hence he finds Adhemar and so much more.
Morgan of Melksham has been charged with a mission by
Nicholas of Lismor, a man who had been like a father to
her. She is to take a knife laced with magic and deliver it
to the King of Tor Neroche. Morgan, a
mercenary/shieldswoman hates magic but agrees to take on
the task out of a strong sense of duty. Ironically she nearly
kills Adhemar for sneaking up behind her, but she is
momentarily blinded by his handsome visage. His boastful
demeanor soon has her wishing she had finished him off
however, and since he is not inclined to reveal his
identity, she assumes he is just one of the many sons named
after the king of the realm.
Nicholas sends a band of Morgan's friends to meet her and
protect her on her quest. Glines recognizes both the king
and his brother Miach, but is asked to keep his knowledge
to himself. Miach suspects that it was Morgan who had wrung
magic from his brother's sword in battle and that she might
well be the one that they seek. Since Morgan is quite vocal
about her disapproval of magic, Miach tells her that he is
a farmer who knows only small spells that might aid him in
his work. While Adhemar merely annoys her, Morgan soon
comes to trust Miach and eventually decides she might
actually become fond of him. As Miach's feelings for the
brave and capable warrior become stronger with each moment
and more attacks begin to mount on their band, he begins to
wonder if he might be able spare her the dubious duty of
becoming the wielder of the magical sword.
It is not to be, his own duty dictates that he put the
welfare of the kingdom before his heart and the woman he's
come to love.
The magic of the dagger has been singing to Morgan and
bringing strange dreams of a long forgotten past. By the
time she reaches the Tor Neroche its song has become so
deafening that she can barely focus on anything else. She
longs to deliver her burden to the king and be done with
it, but the castle has more than one surprise in store for
her, and what she finds there might well destroy her.
Certainly nothing in her world will ever be the same.
A happily ever after is not realized in this particular
episode. The dark powers that the pair face are strong, but
where there is life there is hope. Will Morgan find it in
her heart to forgive Miach for his deception? What will the
discovery of her heritage mean to them all? Together will
they manage to save the kingdom from the darkness? Will
Adhemar ever learn humility and cease being pompous? Will
learn more about the other five brothers? (Cathar is
definitely intriguing.) We will have to wait and see.
While SF & F lovers are used to sagas of epic proportions
Ms. Kurland's romance readers may lament having to wait for
their happy ending, but with a storyline this intriguing I
have a feeling it will be well worth a little patience. I
highly recommend this promising beginning to the tales of
the Nine Kingdoms.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted January 5, 2007