Oceans of Fire
When I see Christine Feehan’s name, I immediately think of her Carpathian series. Strongly attracted to her writing, I read the first four books in this series but found I had little stomach for the blood, fangs, and extreme violence to continue. Aware of Feehan’s diverse writing skills, I recently began looking for her books outside this series, hoping for the great story without the blood and violence. I found Oceans of Fire to be just that and didn’t miss the vampires at all.
Oceans of Fire follows Magic in the Wind (fron the Lover Beware anthology) and The Twilight Before Christmas in the Drake Sisters series, which features seven sisters who are each uniquely gifted with supernatural abilities. In place of violence, the sisters wage war against evil with bat-filled caves, whispered warnings on the wind, and mysterious sneezing fits. Used individually, each sister’s abilities are moderately effective; however, when the seven combine their magical talents, they wield considerable power.
Abigail Drake is the third sister gifted with the ability to discern truth and communicate with dolphins. A marine biologist, Abigail has spent her life swimming with the dolphins and now studies their habits as they offer her protection and teach her about their world. Abigail leads a solitary life, choosing only the companionship and comfort of her six sisters. Some would say she is hiding from the world. Four years earlier she fled Russia in terror after enduring a brutal interrogation. Even worse, she believed her beloved fiancé, Alexsandr Volstov, was responsible for the violent inquisition and had callously used her to resolve one of his investigations.
The Russian government trained Alexsandr Volstov to be an undercover operative and emotionless killing machine. Now an Interpol agent who searches for stolen Russian antiquities, he’s long since grown accustomed to danger – the constant threat to his life is insignificant. Since Abigail’s escape from Russia, he’s agonized over her loss, writing countless letters to her in an attempt to explain his supposed treachery. Abigail has returned each of his beseeching letters unopened.
Hoping to encounter Abigail, Alexsandr accepts an assignment along the northern California coast. Discovering his partner murdered, he is surprised to find Abigail at the scene, attempting to save a second man’s life while she guards his dead partner’s body. Determined to protect and reclaim the only woman he has ever loved, Alexsandr won’t let Abigail continue to ignore him or disregard their mutual love. But Abigail is horrified to see Alexsandr and is resolute in her continued rejection of him. As these two strong characters face off, both are unwavering in their position, but Alexsandr has the advantage – the truth is on his side.
I simply loved Alexsandr, a strong and dominant hero yet surprisingly gentle and undemanding with Abigail. He was just the right mixture of toughness and vulnerability as he slowly realized the foolhardiness of his manipulations. Abigail was a compelling heroine with justified scars and reactions. Although I sometimes wished Abigail would just listen to Alexsandr, I understood the reasons for her reticence. The scales were finely balanced as I grasped one’s viewpoint and then the other’s as the story progressed.
My primary criticism concerns the secondary characters – there were too many! Not only are there Abigail’s six sisters and her aunt, but there are also two or three prospective heroes. Add to that the villains, townspeople, antagonists, and friends. These numerous characters with their many pages of interaction prevented this book from moving into DIK status. Yet, all of the pages devoted to each of these characters was somehow effective and I feel invested in their futures and curious at the same time. Yes, particularly curious about one really juicy potential hero, Ilya Prakenskii…hmmm…I really hopes he gets his own book!
The suspense portion of Oceans of Fire was gripping. Rather than a single villain, there were layers of unpredictable villains to leave the reader guessing. Not all of the suspense elements are neatly resolved and I can only assume the search will continue as the series does. However, the most appealing aspect of this book is its lead couple. Alexsandr and Abigail’s relationship is vibrant and sparkles with chemistry and a well-earned “Hot” sensuality rating. Although the pair are given center stage throughout the book, “series” is still written all over it. It can easily be read as a stand-alone; this is no doubt Alexsandr and Abigail’s love story, but it also remains a tale of the Drake sisters and their magical abilities. This is one series I now want to follow.
|Review Date:||May 26, 2005|