CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 9 . . . .December 21, 2007
As Fate Decrees.
Calgary, AB: Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, 2007.
253 pp., pbk., $16.95.
Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.
Review by Ronald Hore.
"Not now, Iphicles," she hissed, her rage making her voice a rasp of sound that was forced from between clenched teeth. She continued past him, and almost screamed in frustration when she realized he was following her into her rooms.
"Iphicles! By the Gods, isn't there a place in this palace where I can find peace and solitude?" His dark eyes glinted in the low flares of candle flame. He caught her arm when she would have left her chambers again. Instinctively, Amarantha's hand lifted and she was stunned when Iphicles' fingers wrapped around her wrist and he jerked her toward him. Stumbling, she was stammering an apology, unaware of anything beyond her inner horror at almost striking him. Her awareness altered radically when her head was drawn back and Iphicles' mouth covered hers. The kiss was unexpected, and as her body shuddered to life at his touch, the pressure of his lips changed from ruthless to seductive. Your disregard for his Queen is worthy of a tavern slut's ambitions... The mocking, purring memory of her master's taunt cooled the wild hunger that had exploded within her, and she forcibly freed herself from his arms, gasping slightly.
The opening scene is a slave market; the setting is Athens in ancient Greece. Amaratha, a beautiful slave, is purchased by a man whose identity is a mystery and who carries her off on a ship to his castle in Thrace. He is eventually revealed to be Ares, the brutal Greek God of War, and he is training her as a fighter to be his Champion. Her destiny, according to Ares, is to serve the gods and vanquish all their foes until the gods grant her peace.
Amarantha's first mission takes her to Corinth, with a message for the king there. The king, Iphicles, turns out to an old love from her earlier life, adding complications. The story involves gory duels, battles, and treachery as Amarantha attempts to do what she feels is her duty. Her master, Ares, keeps her in the dark, only feeding her hints when it suits him. The other gods do not always agree with Ares.
Eventually the story moves to modern day Greece, and Amarantha is reincarnated in the body of Alexandra, a student of Greek history. Alexandra has been trying to stop a madman bent on world-wide destruction of ancient buildings etc., and now Amarantha must take her place. Adding to her complications is Alexandra's live-in boyfriend, Nic.
The softcover book is 272 pages and includes a page of Author's Notes, five pages of material from the publisher listing other books, and three pages about the author. The story is broken down into sections: Prologue, Part One consisting of seven chapters that tell the ancient tale, Part Two with the modern part of the story told in another eight chapters, and an Epilogue. There is one black and white picture inside, a representation of the God, Ares.
This historical fantasy should appeal to readers who enjoy the Greek setting, complete with sword-play, warrior women, romance, aloof impetuous gods and modern-day terrorists.
Ronald Hore, involved with writer's groups and workshops for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.
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