I have enjoyed the other books in this series (Infinity and Eternity), but an unlikable heroine and a Big Misunderstanding marred my enjoyment of this latest entry.
Nibada is one of the oldest Immortal High Witches around. In 2,501 B.C. she had been left at the temple in Sumer with no clue as to her origins. She was raised as a priestess in training for the goddess Ianna. She has a love for life and a free spirit that draws others to her. However, where the priestesses were once quite powerful, a change occurred in the last generation; their powers have been usurped by the royal rulers of Sumer. Freedom is not what it once was. Nidaba wants to learn the written language, which was once taught to all priestesses. It is only by the grace of the goddess, so to speak, that she is allowed to learn. She is tutored with the king’s son, Prince Eannatum, as he must learn the rituals and magic of the goddess.
Natum and Nidaba study together for many years and fall in love as teenagers. Since Nidaba is to become a high priestess, marriage is forbidden to her, and Natum’s marriage will be politically arranged. They both try and overcome these obstacles, but are caught up in some ugly political maneuvering from people they trust. Nidaba and Natum are separated, and only have a small amount of time together a few years later. More political machinations occur to split them up a second time, and then the Big Misunderstanding occurs.
Nidaba believes Natum capable of a heinous crime, even though she has known him since they were young and there is an obvious alternate explanation. By this time, Nidaba knows they are both Immortal Witches, but doesn’t bother confronting Natum over what she believes he has done. Had Natum done what he was accused of, you can bet I would be back one day to clean his clock, even if it was hundreds of years later. Instead, Nidaba lets 4,000 years go by.
In the modern day, Natum has become Nathan, and is living a boring, quiet life, far removed from the danger of announcing his Immortal status. He has not been hunted by dark witches in several centuries. When he comes across a picture of Nidaba in the newspaper, he cannot believe it is her, for he truly believed her dead. He goes to rescue her from a dangerous situation.
Nidaba has a powerful Dark Witch hunting her, and by entering Natum’s life, she gives the Dark Witch the opportunity to hurt Natum as well. The Dark Witch manages to spread mayhem and destruction in Natum’s life before she is stopped.
I liked Natum’s character much better than that of Nidaba. Natum realized that he chose duty over love once and will not make the same mistake twice, even though he likes his quiet existence. Nidaba, however, even though deep down she knows that she has been mistaken about Natum, continuous to wallow in her anger; her whiney “poor me” attitude became so annoying that I began hope the Dark Witch would win. This was a bummer because Nidaba started out as a strong, warrior-type heroine that I normally enjoy.
One of the outstanding features (and my favorite part) of this book was the description of ancient Sumerian life. It’s hard to find romances that venture into new territory, and this author did a great job bringing Sumer to life. I only wish the the characters and plot had lived up to the elegant and unique setting.