Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Attack of the Queen by Honor Cummings

Wings ePress, 1590886879, $11.95



The world of Arwhyrrl is peaceful, inhabited primarily by the "tree women" -- followers of the god Janico, each living in symbiosis with her tree. When the tree is threatened or destroyed, so is the life associated with it, yet it is not necessary for a woman to be within proximity of her tree at all times. One such tree woman, the healer Adazzra, is unique among her race in that she has had the opportunity to travel to various worlds with Moonrazer, her "sworn sister" and Exalted Warrior of the Sarl.



Their harmony is interrupted, their friendship at times tested, when Adazzra is summoned to her homeworld with the news that the Vlaad, a godless, bloodthirsty all-male race ruled by a lone woman (a queen bee of sorts), has designs on the planet. As the Vlaad have a reputation of taking no prisoners and leaving none alive, Adazzra and Moonrazer are forced to assemble what forces they can to retaliate. Neither one expects an ally in the form of Feodor, a Vlaad sympathetic to the teachings of Janico who is cast from his army and left for dead. Healer Adazzra, having sworn to help anyone regardless of his affiliations, takes care to see Feodor back to health, much to Moonrazer's protest. The situation is further complicated when prophecies espoused by Arwhyrrl elders indicate that not only are Feodor and Adazzra to be lifebonded, but are destined to stop the Vlaad race and bring peace to both worlds.



ATTACK OF THE QUEEN offers for the fan of fantasy an exciting story of self-preservation underscored by a spiritual theme; expository scenes involving Adazzra's and Moonrazer's meeting, presented early in the story, tend to slow the progression of the story but it is well worth staying with the book as secrets of the Vlaad race are eventually revealed. The romance of Feodor and Adazzra, to author Cummings's credit, does not overpower the action yet enhances the story enough to leave fantasy romance fans satisfied. One can detect some Christian inspiration in the story; subtle, and not preachy, a good read for lovers of the genre.



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