Electronic ISBN# 1-4199-0532-5
No one does a tormented hero like Charlotte Boyett-Compo.
Riain Cree, Aidan's youngest son, had been kidnapped by Hesar a year before, then captured by the Zonelanders; in the ungentle custody of the Zonelanders, he was first interrogated, then found to be suffering from Labyrinthian Fever. While ill, fifteen-year-old Riain was cared for by Suzanne who lusted after him though he was only a boy and she a spinster. Via the letter home to Riain's family, his mother Christina supernaturally sensed the evil Suzanne's lustful intent, and sent the party to Vent du Nord quickly to save him. In the meantime, Suzanne, fifteen years Riain's senior, forced a potentially poison and illegal aphrodisiac on Riain, and took his virginity and her own. Aidan rescued his son, and Suzanne's father was mortally ashamed, planning to confine his daughter to Baybridge insane asylum. But as the flotilla of his father's ships was leaving, Suzanne climbed naked to the battlements and cursed Riain to suffer the horrors of the damned.
When he had been ill, Riain had been called from death by the mysterious voice of Maeve, whose face he'd never known, but who had a mystical connection with him. It was this unknown woman he wondered about as he was about to embark on a journey to meet his betrothed bride, Miyoshi Shimota, third daughter of the Chrystallusian Emperor. Touched with some of his mother's intuitions, it was possible that his anxiety was the result of some precognitive awareness of things to come. He still worried about Suzanne. And well he should. After two years in the asylum--two years of abuse--Suzanne's father died, and she was brought home to sit on the throne of the Northwinds. Before she even left the asylum, she had already asked about Riain, and discovered his betrothal. She was already making plans to ruin him.
Charlotte Boyett-Compo weaves in everything: madness, sacrifice, witches, demons, time-travel, "magik," vampires, wolves, shapeshifters, demonology and more. Her heroes always end up mired deeper and deeper in situations that would be impossible to escape, but they never capitulate even against impossible odds. Campo really knows how to jerk the emotional chain; she has written another fascinating journey set in her macabre mythos, of a life, of loves and a battle between good and evil.
Reviewed By: Allie B
© July 2004
Note: This book was previously published elsewhere and has been revised for Cerridwen Press.