Genre: fantasy romance
Cover: nice, but the female heroine is covered from head to toe in magical tattoo’s.
In a fertile valley undisrupted by the aether-shattering death of the old Aian Empire, the Tower and its Guardians have entertained generations of wealthy mirror-scrying mages while adventurers from around the world risk their lives for fortune and fame. But on the one day the Tower stood unguarded, an intruder tried to seize the magic powering the vast structure. Now, locked out of the Tower's innermost chambers, Kerric Vo Mos must brave the deadly traps keeping trespassers at bay in order to reclaim control.
Unfortunately, Kerric wields a pen far better than a sword, and the way into the Tower's sanctum is treacherous. Only the help of an experienced player like Myal the Mendhite can get him to where he must go. But mutual respect will not be enough. Passion must also be employed, along with armor and weapons, as they embark on a perilous quest past monsters, riddles, and other dangers that even the Tower's most dedicated viewers have never seen before.
I really enjoyed it, that this book started with a scene from the Sons of Destiny series. It brought me immediately back to this world, even though it has been years since I read the series.
I don’t know how to describe this book, other than that it reads like one big computer game. Guardian Kerric is locked out of his Tower when someone tries to take over the Fountain, and he has to reconnect with it. He can’t do it alone, as the whole Tower is riddled with traps that are used as entertainment for adventurers, which are broadcasted all over the world through the scrying mirrors. But now that the Tower has locked itself down in defense, those traps are turned lethal. He also does not want to take a whole team with him, out of fear that they will tell about the Towers secrets. But he does not one warrior, preferable a female who does not find him unattractive, as one of the levels will be the Seraglio and they will have to make love to get out again. Kerric is a small man and a great mage, but he is not really a fighter, although he does know how to use a sword. He needs a partner for this endeavour, who is not only a fighter but smart and who can safe them both if necessary. There are some traps that will just knock him unconscious as he is a mage. And so he makes a list of the 5 most likely females that can and will help him out. But fate makes him run into the Painted Warrior Myal the Mendhite, and she agrees to help him. He dares not wait until the next morning after they have rested, for fear that other mages will try to take over the Tower from him, they will have to go immediately.
And Kerric is right, once they are in the Tower, and progressing nicely along the traps and levels, they find out they are followed by 5 others, mages and warriors, determined to loot the tower and take it over from him if possible. But being the Master, Kerric is not powerless to stop them, and he will do whatever is necessary.
During their adventure, Kerric and Myal get to know each other, and respect each others skills. They both save the others life a few times, and know they can rely on each other. And with every riddle that Myal solves, Kerric will award her a kiss. After all, they need to get familiar with this for the Seraglio soon. Myal does not really care about bedsport, being a very tall woman and tattooed all over, most men don’t really like her. But Kerric seems to really like her body, and his kisses sure are nice.
I really enjoyed reading about their adventure in the Tower, all the levels and dangers they had to pass. Think of a video game, or when Harry Potter and his friends had to play chess and catch a flying key, that sort of things.
Myal has no magic of her own, but her tattoos are magical, and she can turn them on to become very strong, or tall, or be able to walk on the walls to get past a fire pit. It was really fun, and their relationship developed nicely through it all. I have never read a romance between a tall woman and a short man, but they made it work. Including the neck pains and using footbenches.
Myal is a bit shy at first, and she has admired the Master of the Tower before, from a distance, as he never dates any of the adventurers that come to pit their skills against the Tower. But she really likes the man Kerric, capable and caring and fun to be with. Myal sure is though and a good fighter, but she is also really smart, and has lots of ideas for future runs. I liked her, and how she is respected amongst the town people and her fellow adventurers.
They still have to find out what exactly was trying to take over the fountain, and I am looking forward to reading the next book. I just love this world that Jean Johnson has build, filled with magic based on science, and different races of humans. And now I really want to re-read her Sons of Destiny series!
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian