Book Blurb: In a war that shook the earth, the Six gods of Nendor defeated their brother Neldin, god of evil. For the three thousand years since, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity.
But then a new wizard unleashes the power of Neldin. Meglar, wizard king of Zargon, uses dark magic to create an army of creatures to carry out his master's will.
One by one, the sovereign realms fall. Soon the only wizard who can stop Meglar is Grand Master Farrell, the Prince of Haven, the hidden home of refugees. An untried wizard, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar—or it could destroy the world.
While helping Nerti, queen of the unicorns, Farrell saves Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen to be Farrell's mate. But Farrell approaches love with caution, and before he can decide how to proceed, Meglar invades a neighboring kingdom. Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Farrell pushes himself to the limit as he and Miceral fight not only to stop Meglar but for their very survival.
Review: I really loved everything about this book from the storyline to the characters to the dialogue.
Mr. Gordon has a gift for descriptiveness that I greatly enjoyed. I think my favorite is the endless pocket - regarding which I have just one question: Where can I find one outside of the book? I also like the idea behind Haven, if not the need within the world Mr. Gordon created.
The characters and dialogue are intertwined for me. There are Farrell and Miceral, of course, as the leading men of the story and they lead well. But the supporting characters like Horgon (Miceral's father), Erstad and Wesfazial (Farrell's mentors), Nerti and Klissmor (Farrell's and Miceral's unicorn mounts, respectively) as well as others who also carry the story without fading into the background or coming across as one dimensional. The dialogue between all of the characters throughout the story is, in turn, humorous, serious, loving, and sad as the situation calls for.
Wonderful read and great beginning to a series that I would recommend to a variety of readers.
(Review copy courtesy Netgalley. Book blurb found on Netgalley - (c) Dreamspinner Press. Image (c) DSP Publications).
(Contains mild spoilers in the paragraph regarding Evan.)
Set in an alternate England of 1792, A Wicked Encounter is the story of Christopher Allwyne, the Duke of Bellwood, and Evan de Lombard, a Frenchman, who has come to claim the same property that Christopher believes he might inherit from his recently deceased aunt.
Evan and Christopher had already encountered each other and things go awry when Christopher finds out why Evan is in the area. It remains to be seen if they can work things out.
Let me start off by saying that I liked the book overall and it provided a nice reading break. While I would have liked to see more character development and a meatier storyline, I really enjoyed the author's descriptiveness and vivid writing.
Having said that, I do have a couple quibbles with the reading.
The first one is that, even though the author has stated in the foreward that the storyline is set in an alternate England and France where same sex marriage is allowed during the late 18th Century, I found myself going, "But, but, but...." during a good portion of the first time I read the story. Part of that reaction may come from my habit of reading the last chapter first before reading the story from the beginning. I actually like having that kind of a reaction during reading because it usually makes me evaluate whether it's just me or whether it is something that the author intended. Another part of the reaction, however, may be that, while the author does state in the foreward that marriage is acceptable between a same sex couple though rare, I would have liked to see some of the history of why and how it came to be accepted within the storyline itself. Was Christopher, as a lawyer, part of the movement that made it so? Or did it come to pass before he was even born? If so, how long before and what event acted as the impetus for the movement?
A second quibble I have with the story is Christopher himself. For someone who is, essentially, billed as the head of the family, he comes across as a bowl of quivering aspic and one that isn't entirely well set either. While Christopher is a member of the ton, and a certain different set of rules may apply (never mind the different era), I have had teachers who are/were practicing lawyers in different disciplines and having different personalities and, to me, they were of a stronger character than Christopher.
Another thing that stood out for me is Evan. Or, rather, his name. First, well, his first name. From what the reader finds out during the course of the story is that his mother (who is assumed to be French as her heritage is not mentioned) is married to a Frenchman and has an affair with an Englishman. It is worked out by all parties that the French couple will raise the son and that his English parentage will not be revealed. Now, it may just be me, but wouldn't a name like Evan raise some sort of flag? Then the last name. To my the best of my knowledge, the "Lombard" portion of the name has Italian connotations. I would have liked to see some sort of backstory to explain the history of the name within the story.
Aside from these and a couple other things that are due more to my own personal quirks, I really did enjoy the story provided in A Wicked Ecnounter though not everyone might.
If a reader is looking for a nice, quick read, then A Wicked Encounter is great.
(Cross-posted to Goodreads, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Silver Publishing, and Librarything.)
The author can be found at: http://sammyjohunt.livejournal.com/
Silver Publishing (both print and ebook formats)
Amazon.com (Kindle version available.)
Barnes & Noble (NOOK version only).