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ISBN# 978-0-373-80238-8/ 0-373-80238-2
July 2006
233 Broadway, New York, NY 10279
440 Pages
Rating: 4 Cups

Mel Dawnfield is a mage, but then her family has been bred for magic since time immemorial, so that is no surprise. What is a surprise to everyone, including Mel, is the strength of the power she finds herself wielding. Married to a man who trusts her and her power, but whose subjects view her with suspicion, Mel finds herself pushing the envelope magically to keep the husband she loves from starting anymore wars.

Cobalt Escar is the ruler of Shazire, and Mel’s husband. Abused for years by his grandfather, he has a very difficult time controlling his temper. If he is not careful, it often rules his actions. Desperate in some part of himself to make his grandfather see he is worthy to be his heir, Cobalt is often tormented by the demons of his past and cannot understand how Mel can love him as she does.

When Cobalt receives news that his grandfather has had a stroke, he and Mel race to The Misted Cliffs where his grandfather rules, to be at his side. Even though Mel is very uncomfortable with Cobalt’s grandfather, she tries to be pleasant for Cobalt’s sake. While they are in The Misted Cliffs, the queen of a neighboring desert kingdom has Mel’s uncle kidnapped to bargain for Cobalt’s good behavior. She is fearful he will conquer her kingdom as well. It is only through some very quick and interesting maneuvering on the parts of the rulers of the kingdoms involved, and Mel’s quick thinking, that each situation is able to be resolved.

I found this book to be highly enjoyable. It is colorfully descriptive, and the customs and mores of the different kingdoms are well thought out. The world building is creative and fun. Ms. Asaro successfully weaves in secondary characters and stories without missing a beat or losing any threads, which made this book flow very smoothly. So smoothly in fact that, unlike some fantasies I have read, I did not have to go back and reread particular sections to reacquaint myself with characters or situations so I could follow the story better. All in all, a fantastic read and one that would be a great addition to anyone’s library.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books