A stand alone novel, published in 2003, re-issued in 2010.
He’s a ruler in a divided world …
In the magical, watery world of the Sea Forest, the divide between the rulers and the people is an uncrossable chasm. Handsome, arrogant Prince Korl Com’nder has live a life of luxury that is nothing more than a fantasy to the people he rules. Until the day he is accidentally kidnapped by a beautiful outlaw smuggler and is forced to open his eyes to the world outside his palace walls.
She’s an outcast, but at least she has her independence …
Mahri Zin would stop at nothing to save her village, and when they needed a healer she didn’t think twice about kidnapping one. But when she realizes that the healer she so impulsively stole is none other than the crown prince of the Sea Forest, Mahri knows that this is her only chance to change the fate of her people …
Imagine a world where the people live in trees, rising out of the water of the world. Where the Royals live in the city, and the peasants in the swamps. To control their surroundings, they eat something called Zabba root, which gives them power over everything, and the most powerful person rules. The Royal family has outlawed the use of Zabba for everyone else, and is keeping al the knowledge to themselves and a few chosen people.
But in the swamps, there are people who also have a high tolerance for the Zabba root, even though it is illegal. They are called Wildlings, and are hunted down when discovered. When a fever threatens to destroy her village, again, Mahri sets out to kidnap a healer. Last time when she asked politely, she was turned down flat. No healer wants to go out in the swamp to heal a bunch of swamprats. So Mahri lost her husband and little son. This time, she will not loose her sister and the rest of her village. So she kidnaps a healer, never thinking she could kidnap her Prince!
The arrogant man gives her lot of trouble on the way home, and she despairs of getting there in time. They are attracted to each other, but Royals don’t sully themselves with water rats! To keep them save, Mahri overdoses on the Zabba root, and Korl heals her, but something has happened to her when in coma. She dreams of the natives of the world, and they want her to Bond with the prince of changes, as they call him. He will need her to change their world. But Mahri doesn’t want to, she cannot go through that kind of loss ever again.
But to safe her family, Mahri will have to Bond with Korl after all. She has the Power, but not the knowledge to heal, and Korl knows how, but he cannot hold enough Power to do it. So together they can.
For a few weeks, they stay together in the swamps. If Korl gets back to the Palace, he will tell the guard about her, and she will be hunted down to be killed. But he did safe her life, and he wants to go back. Ultimately, she gives in, and shows him many of the wonders of the swamp on the way. Back in the city, Korl has her imprisoned, and married to him, where he keeps her captive in the palace. His half sister and her lover try to kill him, and Mahri saves his life, overdosing on the root again.
Finally he sees reason, and accepts she will never willingly give him her heart and her mind, as he demands of her.
So she is free to go back to the swamp, and she sets out exploring, but she cannot get Korl out of her mind, no matter how far she goes. Farther than anyone thought the world could go. When she almost dies in a storm, her soul reaches for Korl, and he saves her life. When she returns, many moons later, Korl has become King, and he has changed their world, for her. For her love.
I am sooooo disappointed in this book. It is such a great world Kathryne Kennedy has created, such an original fantasy world. With very intriguing creatures and plants and everything. It could have been so great with a strong heroine, and a strong hero, working together. But in stead, you have a strong heroine, who has knows loss already. But still, she is drawn to the outer beauty of the hero, totally mindless when he touches her, kisses her. Capable to nothing anymore. And Korl never got real to me. His motto: I take what I want, includes imprisoning her in his palace, till he sees reason and sets her free at long last.
If you like lots and lots of love scenes, or near love scenes, of sighing over the toss of his hair, his beautiful sculpted body etcetera etcetera, you will love this book. I you are looking for more of a story, strong characters, don’t bother, no matter how great this world building is.