Eos, Oct 2007, $15.95
A year has passed since the warrior city Protector Spur Lazar was killed, Kett was turned into a eunuch, and Ana became an Odalisque although not performing sexual deeds as part of the harem of Boaz, the juvenile Zar of Percheron,. Odalisque Ana blames herself for the misfortune that occurred to her and her protectors. Males have always wanted to cherish Ana so as Kett points out the Lazar needed to become her Protector.
In the harem, the virginal Ana tries to behave and fit in although men still desire her even Boaz. However, the Zar’s mother Herezah sees the first crush her son has had and fears the influence of this newcomer to her role as the queen mother ruling over the harem. She arranges a scheme to humiliate Ana before assassinating her. The eunuch Grand Master Salmeo, who detests the popularity of this newcomer amongst his emaciated subordinates and the women he oversees, abets Herezah with her plan to include sexual torture as only he knows how to use. However, on one of those isles that Odalisque Ana stares at from her window, Lazar slowly heals from his severe wounds planning to fulfill his vow as Ana’s Protector.
EMISSARY, Book Two of the Percheron Saga (see ODALISQUE) is a fascinating fantasy that provides a deep look into the realm although that keen glimpse makes for little action for most of the tale. Instead the story line has started several subplots that look like they will be action-packed fun. Odalisque Ana is the focus of everyone’s wants. The Zar wants her; his mother wants her dead but not martyred;, the Grand Master wants her humiliated; Lazar wants to rescue her;, the Vizier wants to use her to gain power; and the Gods want to manipulate her. This is an entertaining tale, but lacks the punch of ODALISQUE as it sets the stage for the final tale in which hopefully all the players will clash.