Ace, Dec 2007, $7.99
Few men took the kiss of Eternity and survived, but Shadrael tu Natalloh did and he became one of the fiercest and ruthless legionaries in Emperor Kostinon’s service even though the cost was very high. He lost his soul and casts no shadow, but was able to draw on part of the magic from the shadow gods. When ex-slave Caelan fought and defeated Kostinon and the Shadow War God Beloth, a new day dawned in the empire. With the shadow gods destroyed, the men in the legion were to renounce their allegiance to the old gods and wear fealty to Light.
Shadrael refused and his legion was destroyed, stripped of their rank and exiled. Now he hires himself and his men out to the highest bidder as mercenaries. His brother the Warlord of Ulinia plans to have his province succeed from the empire. He wants Shadrael to kidnap the emperor’s sister Lady Lea, who he will use as a pawn to obtain independence for Ulinia. Reluctantly Shadrael accepts the assignment, but when he and Lea meet, her goodness changes him in subtle ways.
Although Caelan the Light Bringer sits on the throne, the empire heads towards civil war because many that were loyal to the shadow gods remain filled with rage and are waiting for the right moment to retaliate (mindful of some Sunni in Iraq). The choices Shadrael and Lea make will determine the path the empire follows in what on the surface appears to be a battle between good and evil. Lea senses there is much more depth to her captor then the darkness he displays. Deborah Chester writes an enchanting fantasy filled with magical and mundane intrigue, enhanced by a hint of romance.