Beckett and Chris Power:
Drugged and enslaved by a man he considered his dearest friend, the warrior mage Kherin becomes part of the tribute to Rythian, the new Sun Stallion (and ruler) of the semi-nomadic Shi'R'Laen. Assuming the duties and obligations of the Sun Stallion entails separating oneself from one's family and household. Rythian, a devoted family man, finds this aspect of rulership especially difficult. And it becomes even more difficult when he accepts Kherin as a tribute gift, effectively making the outlander a man of Rythian's former household and husband to Rythian's former wives.
Different lands and different cultures shaped Kherin, the Goddess' Chosen; and Rythian, the Sun Stallion. To fulfil their shared destiny, the two men must return the Sun God to his rightful people, the Shi'R'Laen. But many obstacles stand in the heroes' way -- obstacles raised by man, nature and by Rythian's refusal to believe in his own god or any others.
Rythian must battle his deepest instincts in order to do right by his people. Meanwhile, Kherin must contend the distrust of the Shi'R'Laen and the need to fulfil his destiny before the Goddess calls him home.
The straightforward but occasionally surprising plot of Tribute Trail held my complete attention from beginning to end. Beckett and Power know how to set their scenes and how to keep their world building from taking over the story. However, although this book contains no graphic sexual content, some readers may find the cultural and sexual mores of the Shi'R'Laen offensive.
Patricia White is the Sapphire Award-winning author of A Wizard Scorned. Her current book, the western Edwina Parkhurst, Spinster, is available from Hard Shell Word Factory.
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