Air and Graces
Ace, January 2008, $7.99, 352 pp.
The most important commodity in the Duchy of Oc is flying horses. These marvelous winged creatures only let females ride them, refusing to allow a man near them let alone touching them. Duke William is obsessed with riding a winged horse and is developing a new breeding line that will allow men to ride them. He is so intent on bonding with a winged horse that he neglects his duty to his people.
The village of Onmarin is attacked by the barbarous Aesklanders and two of the students of the Academy Of Air witnessed the event. The duke won’t avenge his people’s death or try to find the two children that were taken. Horsemaster Philippa of the academy works behind the scenes to get the students back without Duke William, her sworn enemy, knowing of her plans. An academy student Larkyn finds out what William is doing and reports to Phillipa; but William brings charges against Philippa. William is growing increasingly insane and dangerous as he takes an elixir that turns his body into a female so that his first flying horse Diamond will accept him. His brother Francis is the only one who can limit his older brother’s actions but his power is restricted and the duke is cunning using stealth and trickery to get his way.
Readers who read the prequel to the novel AIR BENEATH THE MOON will thoroughly enjoy reading how much Lark has matured as she learns patience and caution. The duke hates her because he believes she stole his first flying horse of his new bloodline away from him. Her concern for her mentor Horsemistress Philippa endears her to the audience who can see she cares more about her mentor and her horse than she does herself.