"Engrossing Fantasy World!"
The people of Leopard's Gard have reason to hope for an end
to the brutal reign under which they'd suffered for two
generations. The new young Baron is a different man from
his sire and grandsire, or is he?
Varian has freed the slaves and taken many steps to lift
oppression and bring prosperity to his beleaguered lands.
Unfortunately his lands are not all he has inherited from
his father. He had learned of his ability to shape shift to
the form of an ice leopard, upon his unwilling dedication
the dark god several years earlier. His father had promised
his son and heir to the evil one in exchange for his own
In spite of all the good Varian does as lord of Leopard
Gard, the deity can possess his animal body on a whim
brutally victimizing his people while Varian is helpless to
stop him. At last he finds this unbearable and strikes a
terrible bargain of his own with the god. In exchange for
his freedom the dark one demands his future bride, a woman
of the god's choosing. She is a vessel of his sister, and
enemy, the goddess of light who seeks to defeat him.
Reluctantly Varian agrees to the arrangement. He'd had no
plans to wed. His believes his people are more important
than a single unknown girl. Then he meets her. He hadn't
counted on a woman of Caitlin's beauty, kindness and
courage. She loves his people. She loves him. He struggles
to harden his heart, knowing he will feel guilt for his
but convinced that sacrificing one for the many is the
right course of action. What he had not expected was
Caitlin's willingness to sacrifice herself for the man and
the people she cares about. Her easy acceptance of his
nature and her fate touches his very soul. It is with
heavy heart that he proceeds with the plan. Can they find a
way to defy fate or must Varian honor the promise that will
surely render his heart in two?
I believe the readers will find themselves engrossed in Ms.
Morland's fantasy world with surprising ease. This tale is
realistic; rich in plot and well developed side characters.
The hero and heroine are extremely strong and sympathetic.
I look forward to future works from this author.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted December 21, 2001