The Fire King
Marjorie M. Liu
Avon, Jul 26 2011, $7.99
Soria left Dirk and Steele after she killed a man in cold blood though he deserved it. She has not healed mentally since the incident and wants no more field work. However, Roland sends an agent to plead with her in medieval “dead” Welsh to come home to help them on a strange unique case of a man, who speaks a language that no one has ever heard before. He was found alive interred in an ancient tomb. She is the world’s foremost linguistic expert as her talent is communication in any language. On the one hand she wants to say no; on the other she is curious.
Soria meets Karr, who states three words in three languages: “Zoufalstvi. Epatoivo. Asa”. She knows exactly what he says and quickly realizes he is part of an ancient race of shapeshifters. However, things turn ugly when apparently other shapeshifters exist and need the former son of their late king dead as promised to him and so the “normals” including the psychics will have no proof they exist. As Soria and Karr begin to consider acting on their mutual attraction, trust remains as big of an obstacle as danger from his were-cheetah race who threatens him and his beloved human.
This is a reprint of a terrific D&S tale with an intriguing spin of a “hidden” tribe whose prince is “awakened”. The urban fantasy story line is action-packed and filled with that special Marjorie Liu intrigue from the moment Roland’s agent Robert speaks several languages with Soria at the Minneapolis airport and uses her unique linguistic talent to get the strong tale soaring. The plot accelerates from there as Soria and Karr fall in love but their journey is long, dangerous and taboo.