From the author of “the fabulously fresh, thoroughly romantic, and wildly entertaining” (Jayne Ann Krentz) Sons of Destiny come four all-new novellas set in the same bewitching world of danger, passion, and providence…
I very much have enjoyed reading the series that originated this anthology so was very excited to hear about this book. I read a good clip about the stories on her website:
It holds four stories, all set in the Sons of Destiny universe, each one a different flavor: village life, steampunk, palace life, and pirates. Each tale leads to the next, with each one set in a new kingdom, so you’ll get the chance to explore new corners of their world with familiar faces…starting with the tale of what happened to Eduor, son of the Earl of the Western Marches from my very first novel, THE SWORD.
So even though it is an anthology that takes place all in the same world you get very different stories with the various settings. I was very surprised to be put in a steampunk setting, but it was a nice surprise. I loved how all these stories built upon one another. You would meet the character(s) for each story in the preceding story, that was fun. I liked that they were all connected, if loosely, to one another. A lot of fantasy anthologies will give you four separate stories that just happen to possibly take place on the same world.
The slave…Chanson, a privileged Arbran dyara, discovers an unexpected connection with the excitingly different Eduor, a bracingly sexy war-slave who desires his freedom. But what binds them together could also destroy them.
The first story was “The Slave” and it took place in a village. Eduor is a newly freed slave who finds himself in a small village trying to make a place for himself. He takes over the farm of a man who has gone off to fight a battle an in doing so has left his farm to be unproductive. Now their law states that if a man can make himself productive on land that remains unclaimed for a year, they can keep that land. So Eduor goes to work. One of the village leaders is a woman named Chanson, she is a weather witch for the village and her position is very highly regarded. As he shows his work ethic and integrity it draws her in and they fall in love.
Sweet story, I enjoyed it, though honestly when I started it I did not recognize Eduor as a character from the previous book though his name was slightly familiar. I realized later that he was mentioned in The Sword. It did take me a little bit to get into this story, not exactly sure why so I have to give this one a 3.75.
The knight…The Arbran diplomat Sir Zeilas must turn the Guildaran people—with their strange machines and weaponry—from former enemies into allies. But in the case of their intriguingly beautiful leader, perhaps something more intimate is in order.
The second story was “The Knight”. This story’s main character was one of the knights escorting Eduor before and after he was newly freed from slavery. Zeilas is told to go be an envoy to the new formed country of Guildara. This is our steampunkish story. Guildara is a country that is making it reputation on it mechanical inventions. With their previous tyranny, they have lived the unavailability of magic, because the previous king either killed or brainwashed them. Zeilas’s country is vast and powerful but loves the new weapons and such coming out of this little area. Then Zeilas meets that brains and beauty that is the leadership of this fascinating land, Marta.
I liked the conflict in this one, there was an actual battle. I enjoyed the scenery and the storyline. I think my only issue was a superficial one and that was her name. I just have a personal issue with that name so it affected my like the story. But will still give this one a 4.25.
The mage…Gabria never expected to become a Guildaran envoy to Aurul, or the subject of their seer king’s prophecies. But the most stunning surprise was what waited for her in His Majesty’s winter palace, and why.
The third story was ‘The Mage”. Marta’s good friend and part of the newly formed mage guild is requested to come to Zeilas’s
The third story was ‘The Mage”. Marta’s good friend and part of the newly formed mage guild, Gabria, is requested to come to Zeilas’s country. She assumes as an ambassador. But their king is the Seer King who is periodically taken over by their god and is given visions and prophesies and such and He has foreseen that she will be the Seer King’s wife. She finds this out after she gets there and they are preparing her for her wedding. She handles it very well, better than I would have. She is very conscious of not causing a scene and not wanting to make a major faux pax but wanting more information before she is married off.
This was a very well constructed story. I think it was my favorite of this anthology. It is basically an arranged marriage and the two people are trying to learn to get along and learn each other as they are actually falling in love. It does not happen over the course of a week which would have drove me crazy, it took time and they grew together. Loved watching that, and it was so well done to be able to do that in a short story. I give this story a 4.5.
The pirate…Captain Ellett would do anything for his king. Even hunt down the pirates plaguing the Jenodan Isles. But he never counted on the seductive powers of the pirate’s captain—beautiful, tempestuous, and impossible to resist.
The last story was “The Pirate”. This one takes the Seer King’s Royal captain, Ellet, and sends him to investigate a possible pirate off their southern coast. He goes down and discovers that the pirate is a beautiful woman that is mad that his country has been stealing from hers. He knows this is not true so knows there he has a lot more to learn about what is going on. They uncover a deeper plot and grow closer as they investigate.
This one was nice, I liked that adventure in it. Pirate stories are almost always fun to read as long as the characters are good, I have seen many TSTL heroines in pirate books. In this one she was the pirate and she was a smart one at that. I enjoyed the storyline in this novella and was anxious to see how it worked out. I give this one an 4.25.
The anthology was a nice read all around. If you have never read any of the other books in this world you are not really missing any previous storyline, except maybe Eduor’s backstory, but I did not remember it when I read it and still relatively enjoyed it.
I give it a 4.25 overall.