The ninth book in the Sons of Destiny series, published January 2011.
Four brand-new novellas, from the national bestselling author of the Sons of Destiny series.
The slave...Chanson, a privileged Arbran dyara, discovers an unexpected connection with the excitingly different Eduor, a bracingly sexy war-slave who desires his freedom.
I very much enjoyed this short story. Very simple, but so lovely. Eduor regains his freedom when his master dies of natural couses, even though her heir wants to keep him. Luckily, he knows enough of the customs of the land he is travelling, to gainsay her, and walk away into the desert, with an Arbran Knight as his companion. When they reach a little village after two days of walking, they witness a small band of men leaving the village, apparently to go fighting in the neighbouring country. Edour is welcome to stay, and take care of the land and beasts of one of the men who is leaving. He likes the quiet life of a farmer, and soon feels at home in the small village. He makes some extra money, or extra goods for himself, with educating the children in the village, or working as a scribe.
Chanson, the Dyara, is very interested in the exotic Eduor. A dyara is a very important person in the desert kingdom of Sundara, he or she can control the rains that fall, and is a combination of a priest and a healer. Being a former sex slave, Eduor is really not that much interested in sex at the moment, let alone using his very long tong on a woman again. He was forced to use it almost daily, before he got any food.
Chanson understands him, and knows she must be careful with him, and not order him around, especially in bed. And so their relationships develops slowly over the year, and if the former owner does not return in a year, the land and house will fall to Eduor.
A very sweet story, with some hot love scenes. I really liked both Eduor and Chanson.
The knight...The Arbran diplomat Sir Zeilas must turn the Guildaran people from former enemies into allies. But in the case of their intriguingly beautiful leader, perhaps something more intimate is in order.
The Abran Knight Sir Zeilas (from the first story) has a new diplomatic mission from his king, to establish peace between Arbra and the new country of Guildara. What Sir Zeilas does not expect is to fall for Marta, the Guildaran leader.
Guildara is a country where technology is the most important thing, while Arbra is all about nature, and magic. Guildara needs magical help to protect their technological inventions from their enemies with the same weapons, who like nothing more but to conquer and enslave. Guildara has freed itself from the False God recently form the former country Mekhana, and is still building on its development as a peaceful nation.
Mekha had been an abomination, an unloved God who refused to fade away, and outright refused to die, though He had technically been slain over two centuries before. A Netherhell demon in disguise, sucking out and stealing away the life force which powered the spells of His mages. A False God, who cared only for His own selfish needs, and nothing for His supposed people.
Which does not mean, Sundarans won’t protect themselves from invaders. They are looking for allies among their neighbours, of which Arbra is one, and Sundaran another. Arbra is willing to become their alley, which is why they have sent convoys (diplomats) over.
But for Marta and Zeilas to form a relationship, will be frowned upon. They both acknowledge that, and their countries come before their personal relationship.
Until the day Warlord Durn the Dreaded invades their little country, and they will have to fight side by side. Marta is not a leader who stays behind; both she and her best friend Gabria are on a motorhorse in the first line of defence. Things are not going well, when Sir Zeilas falls, and Marta thinks he is dead. But then they are rescued in by Mage-Captain Elles of the Royal Guard of Aurula, and his warriors, who arrive by mirror gates.
I think this story can qualify as steampunk. Lots of mechanical devices mixed with magic. I really like the honourable Sir Zeilas and Marta together. They fall in love, but know their countries and duties come first. The little spare time they have, is spend together, but not in the bedroom. They get to learn about each other, and their countries. They have great respect for one another, and their falling in love is sweet and natural.
And the device that really had me laughing in the end of the story, was the crankman …
The mage...Gabria never expected to become a Guildaran envoy to Aurul. But the most stunning surprise was what waited for her in His Majesty's winter palace-and why.
Gabria was thankful for the help Captain Ellett and his troops gave them during the brief was, and so she agreed to leave for Aurul soon after. She has no idea what to expect, and is really uncomfortable with the two bodyguards she seemed to have acquired. And why does he keep calling her: Your Highness? She is not of royal blood, just a commoner, and a member of the Hydraulics Guild. And a mage, but one without much knowledge yet. Being a mage was very risky in her old kingdom, and Gabria is still getting used to the freedom of acknowledging being one. With the help of the four subsequent mirror gates, they travel what would have been a journey of months, in a few minutes. And so, from the fresh winter cold of Guildara, Gabria arrives in the tropical heat of Aurul. When she is led away to be properly washed and dressed, she is not really sad to get rid of her woollen and leather clothing. But reclining in a milk bad for two hours and getting multiple massages, is a bit much for her tastes. She is a working woman, not a pampered lady.
And when she learns, she is not in Aurul to be a convoy, but to marry their Seer-King, she is at a loss of what to do. She is grateful of their help, and she has promised to do whatever she can to help her country, but marriage to a stranger? That sure asks a lot of her. But she complies, and is terrified when she finds out that their Ruul, Deity, their God, really does reside inside of the King some of the time, giving him visions and prophecies. Meeting Mekha used to mean death, and she does not really know their new deity enough to feel comfortable around them, and now she is supposed to share her husband with one?
Luckily, the royal couple is ruled by tradition, and now they have three days to become acquainted with one another. After that, there will be three days of intimacy, and one final day of festivities, after which Devin will have to pick up his royal duties again. He is really relieved with this week of, doing whatever he wants, and getting to know his bride. Unlike Gabria, Devin knew who he was marrying. After all, she was handpicked for him by his God.
And so they learn about each other, and their very different customs. Gabria sure does not meekly accept everything that is suspected of her, she has her own opinion, and in their private quarters, she refuses to do things she finds inconvenient. Devin likes that about her, even though he finds it strange. But Gabria sure brings some new thoughts into the kingdom, and perhaps her insights can help find peace at sea …
I did like Gabria in the previous story, no matter how briefly I got to know her. She accepts her marriage, but still keeps being herself in those strange and very luxurious surroundings. Devin likes being the vessel for his God, and his duties to his people, he is a good King and Seer.
Together they make a great couple, and again, this is a sweet read of two people getting to know each other and falling in love. I would have like a longer story, with more explanations of the different customs and the duties of the King and his Bride.
Oh, an again, some hot love scenes, and the appearance of the crankman ...
The pirate...Captain Ellett would do anything for his king-even hunt down the pirates plaguing the Jenodan Isles. But he never counted on the seductive powers of the pirate's captain-beautiful, tempestuous, and impossible to resist.
In the previous story, Captain Ellett is ordered by his God/King to bring an end to the pirating of their ships by Jenodan privateers. They are taking there revenge too far! So, far they only steal the cargo, and send the ship and crew on their way home again. He is to take a ship called The Parrot’s Ride which will be attacked by the pirates. And only his “most gentle touch” will bring things to a speedy solution.
A prophecy that makes more sense, when the ship Ellett is on, is indeed attacked by the pirates, and he finds out their captain is a pretty woman. Not just any woman, or pirate captain, but a very strong mage as well. Locked in a mage battle, he applies that gentle touch by kissing her very softly, which makes her lose her concentration, and the battle. Ellett has gained the time he needs to get to the bottom of the problems between their nations, and how they can be resolved.
Ellett also doesn’t mind getting more closely and personally involved with Captain Mita, as the journey back to the Jenodan Islands will take a few days. Even with mage magic filling the sails of the ship. Mita shares her knowledge of ship magic with Ellett, while he teaches her how to move while locked in a mage duel.
Upon reaching their destiny, the plot is quickly unveiled and unravelled, and the culprits punished. Leaving their two countries open for piece negotiations. But Ellett has to go back to his duties as Captain of the Royal Guard, and he knows how much Mita loves her job as a ship captain, he cannot ask of her to join him at Aurulean Court. But perhaps his God has something to say about that …
Even the fourth story was very enjoyable. I liked Ellett from the previous appearances, he is a very honorable man. And Mita is a great character as well, not afraid of a stronger mage, and good at what she does. They really fit well together.
Good lovescenes, and a nice but simple plotline. Good main and secondary characters. I would not mind reading more books set in this world.
For the book overall, I liked how all those stories are linked together. From one country to the next, with a few small references to Nightfall Island, where the focus of the first 8 books was. A nice glimpse in some of the other countries mentioned before.
This book is filled with four nice and sweet lovestories. Not much emotion, or background, or intensity, just nice. Great main and secondary characters, with perhaps interesting points for more books in this series.
Yes, I enjoyed it. You can read it as stand alone, but I liked the Sons of Destiny series very much as well (8 books about 8 brothers).
8 stars for the whole book as well of course.