|Julie D'Arcy: Time of the Wolf|
Even by the standards of D'Arcy's wonderfully well-developed and internally consistent world of Tarlis, Princess Keahlea doesn't behave like an ordinary princess. She certainly doesn't act like the wimpy kind who wring their hands and sit around waiting for the hero to coming charging in on a white horse and carry them away. No, Keahlea goes forward in time to find her hero, brings him back and makes sure her father's murder does not go unavenged. Of course, even for strong-minded princesses, things seldom proceed as planned.
Keahlea never expected to be set upon by slavers as soon as she emerged from the time portal, much less find herself sold at auction to the very man she'd sought through time. When Keahlea finally manages to get Lord of the Wolves Radin Hawk and his horse through the time vortex where they belong, she's madder than a hornet. Worse yet, Radin fails to appreciate all Keahlea did for him. You'd think Radin didn't know he couldn't fight the evil sorceress ravaging his land in his own time. The sorceress, who happens to be Keahlea's step-mother, can only be defeated in the past.
In addition to her likable hero and heroine, D'Arcy graces her pages with well-drawn secondary characters (most notably Mace, Radin's man-at-arms) and a truly despicable evil queen. Lost sons, elves, druids, slavers, fell beasts, victims, blood magic, danger, myth and history combine in a totally awesome plot that should come equipped with signs reading "Beware: Dangerous Curves."
Although it boasts a warm love story, Time of the Wolf is first and foremost a fantasy -- one that marks Imajinn's first foray into true speculative fiction. Although heretofore primarily known for romance, this strong fantasy debut leads me to hope Imajinn will publish much more in this genre and many more books by the talented Julie D'Arcy.
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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