New Concepts Publishing
I am reading the tales of Lords of the Var out of order. This is something I try to avoid, but unfortunately could not in this case. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of reading a series in their sequence. The first story I read by Michelle M Pillow was The Bound Prince, which is the third of the Lord of the Var tales and the one that got me hooked. Consequently, I am now avidly reading the rest and am having a ball! Though the sci-fi and futuristic genres are fairly recent discoveries to me, Ms Pillow has ensured that they remain high on my list as exceedingly enjoyable and engrossing. There are two series. The first is Dragon Lords, the romances of the four Draig princes. The second is Lords of the Var, the romances of the five Var princes, one of which is still unpublished. I am going to read every single one; indeed I have enjoyed this and the other one so much, I can't wait.
The Lords of the Var are Cat-Shifters, as are their people, the Var. Long have they been at war with the Draig, who are Dragon-Shifters. The Var rule the South, whilst the Draig rule the North. They have been at war with one another for many years, largely due to King Attor of the Var, a cold man who believes in keeping oneself detached from ones emotions in order to remain and be perceived as strong.
Agent Ulyssa Payne is a member of the Human Intelligence Agency. An orphan, she was drafted into the Agency because she has no ties, family or otherwise. Once an agent, the Agency owns you. You do as you’re told and have little autonomy. Ulyssa doesn’t mind; she has never regretted signing into the Agency. Indeed, the Agency is all she has. Her latest mission is to check up on what the Medical Mafia are doing on the planet of Qurilixen. Though it is known that they deal in biological warfare, nothing has been proven. The mission is almost over before it begins when its leader, Doc Aleksander, is shot dead by his daughter in self-defense. Now all Ulyssa needs to do is wait for a ship to come pick her up. Unfortunately, since the mission was expected to last much longer, the nearest ship is three months away. After Ulyssa uploads her report via her communicator, she is ambushed and kidnapped by King Attor, taken to his harem. A week passes by, and it seems she has been forgotten. Waiting for the opportune moment, she attempts to escape. Running into a very well built chest stops her escape plans in their tracks. It’s been several months since Ulyssa was last intimate with a man, but surely that can’t explain why she is reacting so strongly to this one. Just who is he, anyway? He is not wearing the tunic of the guards. What is to happen between them? Is this man to factor largely into her future?
King Kirill has been on the throne for a week. At the age of ninety-eight, he expected at least another hundred years to go by before having to assume his position as king. With his father’s death in battle, Kirill has to assume his position, uncomfortable as it may be. Though there has been war between the Var and Draig for years, Kirill longs for peace. His problem is that some of the elders, strong supporters of his father, disagree. With their say in the community and their uncertainty over whether he is suitable for the role of king, his reign may be a short though turbulent one. Having been brought up to believe that emotions, in particular emotions in regards to women, make men weak, he is keen to follow in his father’s footsteps in this regard: life-mate to no woman, half-mate to many. When he first meets Ulyssa, his attraction to her is immediate and intense, though the thought that she may be his destiny, the other half of his soul, his Queen, never crosses his mind. As their relationship develops, it turns into more than Kirill ever thought possible and certainly never wanted. Though he tries to keep his distance, in the end he fails. With Ulyssa’s dedication to the Agency, will anything ever come of their relationship? Especially when Kirill refuses to acknowledge his more tender feelings for Ulyssa in public?
The Savage King is a tale about an obdurate man determined to keep his emotions at bay, and a woman who is lonelier than she lets on even to herself, clinging desperately to her duty as an Agent to give her life meaning. The Savage King has been excellently written by an author who has developed her characters to the point that you can envision them in your head. Ulyssa manages to land herself in hot water several times throughout the story, each of which make for a good, solid plot that keep the reader intently engrossed. The sex scenes are detailed, though not explicit or beyond what we can do ourselves, though technically they are of different species. This tale is one that draws out all the emotions, from happiness when things are going right for the characters, to exasperation when they mistake each others actions, to worry when it seems as if they will be unable to work through their differences. I have thoroughly enjoyed this story and cannot wait to read the others in the series. Ms Pillow has most definitely got my vote and a space on my authors-to-look-out-for list.
Reviewed By Elizabeth
© October 2005