Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Golden Rose-Kathleen Bryan

The Golden Rose
Kathleen Bryan
Tor, Mar 2008, $14.95
ISBN: 9780765313294

The Duchess of Quitaine Averil knows it is time to fulfill her promise that she made to her uncle last year. She pledged to the traitorous malevolent bachelor King Clodovec that she would come to his court in Lutrec within a year to select who will sire the heir to the Kingdom of Lys with her. She made that vow to keep Clodovec from destroying the people of her duchy.

The depressed Averil begins her quest knowing her soulmate and magecraft bondmate is commoner Gereint, who she can never marry. However, Averil finds some hope when she meets opponents of the monarch who believe in the Serpent God of Chaos like the king does, but not to release this deity from his incantation incarceration. She also learns that her seditious uncle is planning to do to the Ladies of the Isle what he did to the Orders of the Knight. She knows he must be stopped with her only hope residing with Wild Magic; that means introducing chaos and anarchy by finding a way to void the marital laws of nobility to marry Gereint so besides their love they can craft the mystical counterpoint to the king.

The second War between Order and Chaos tale (see THE SERPENT AND THE ROSE) is a terrific fantasy suspense thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats from the moment Averil knows it’s time and never slows down until the cliffhanger sets up the next entry. The story line is action-packed and fast-paced, but it is Averil and Gereint’s forbidden relationship that makes this saga excellent as the kingdom’s laws forbid their marriage yet they need to bond in holy matrimony to raise the Wild Magic in order to save the people. Although this novel stands alone, it behooves readers to obtain the first stupendous story as that explains how Kathleen Bryant got us to this magnificent point.

Harriet Klausner

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