"set in Rome during the Dark Ages, is rough, meaty and often very dark"
Regeane is a beautiful young woman with werewolf blood.
Because of this, her nasty uncle has kept her captive and
beaten and starved her. When she discovers that he plans
to sell her to a wealthy barbarian she risks her life and
escapes. The remainder of the book concentrates on
Regeane's self-discovery and the other, often odd,
sometimes depraved people she encounters. She's known she
can shapeshift but she also learns that she has visions and
can speak to the dead. Eventually she becomes embroiled in
a dangerous political situation and meets her soul mate and
all ends pretty happily ever after.
This book, set in Rome during the Dark Ages, is rough,
meaty and often very dark. It's not a book for everyone
because the author gets really graphic and vividly
describes numerous vile acts including torture and assorted
bodily functions. The book also goes off into tangents
when the numerous secondary characters take center stage
but their stories were interesting even though they rarely
advanced the plot. My mind only started to wander during
the times when the book got into heavy political details -
which aren't my thing.
If you can get past all that, and don't mind a highly
descriptive book you' ll find a very interesting story that
is often (at the most unexpected times) very hilarious in a
morbid kind of way. I found this story, for the most part,
very difficult to put down and am looking forward to the
sequel which I hope ties up some loose ends.
Laurie Shallah / May, 2000
Copyright © 2000 for Paranormal Romance Reviews
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted June 7, 2002
Regeane is a fatherless royal relation who happens to be a
werewolf. Her guardian, Gundabald, and his venal son Hugo
plan to recoup their fortunes by marrying Regeane to a
wealthy bridegroom, even though she might inadvertently
make him into a bedtime snack. Gundabald forces her into
apparent compliance by threatening to reveal her secret to
the Church, which would burn her at the stake. As the
bridegroom, Maeniel, journeys to Rome to claim her, Regeane
discovers allies in her quest to defeat Gundabald's
machinations, including some very strong, funny, and
levelheaded women. Unfortunately for Regeane, she also has
more powerful enemies than Gundabald.
Alice Borchardt brings 8th-century Rome vividly to life.
Her language is earthy and sensuously descriptive: "The
wolf visited Regeane's eyes and ears. The girl staggered
slightly with the shock. The light in the square became
intense. Smells an overwhelming experience: wet stone, damp
air, musty clothing, perspirations shading from ancient
sticky filth to fresh acrid adrenal alarm."
Borchardt is Anne Rice's sister, but she writes a very
different sort of tale. Ghosts, the dead, and supernatural
forces are here, but so is laugh-out-loud humor and a happy
ending. --Nona Vero --