Romance fans who have been asking for something different, here is your book. Warrior is set in Mongolia and the first in a series about the Blades of the Rose, a group of men and women who have banded together to protect magic artifacts from an evil group seeking to harness the powers of magic for their own nefarious purposes.
Gabriel Huntley has been in the British Army for years and has the scars to show for it. When a friend of his offers him a job in a bank and the possibility of meeting a nice marriageable woman, Gabriel sells out and heads for England. However, when he sets foot on British soil he begins to have second thoughts. When Gabriel sees a gang of ruffians beating a man, he wades into the fray. With his dying breath, the man gives Gabriel a message to take to a Mr. Burgess who lives in Outer Mongolia. A trust is a trust, so Gabriel sets sail, tracks down Mr. Burgess, and meets his beautiful and very independent daughter Thalia.
It doesn’t take long for Gabriel to become enmeshed in the Burgess’s affairs. They are members of the Blades of the Rose, a society that protects magical artifacts from another organization, the Heirs of Albion. The Heirs want to get their hands on every magical artifact they can in order to use magic to keep the British Empire in power and to extend its reach to all corners of the globe.
The message to Burgess concerns the Heirs’ plotting an attempt to steal a very powerful artifact that would give them immense power. Since Mr. Burgess has a lame leg, Thalia rides off to thwart the Heirs and prove herself as a full-fledged Blade. And Gabriel is right behind her.
I loved Warrior! Some reviewers have compared it to the Indiana Jones series and it is like that, but it reminded me of the first Brendan Frasier Mummy movie as well. In those movies (except for Willie in The Temple of Doom), Indy’s leading lady was a strong, intelligent woman who could hold her own (Evelyn in The Mummy is a strong character too.). Thalia is one of the strongest and most believable romance heroines I’ve encountered in a very long time.
Thalia isn’t spunky, and she isn’t feisty. She really knows nothing of the mores of a Victorian woman (the scene where she puts on a proper Victorian Lady dress is very funny), but she isn’t a Noble Savage either. Thalia is a born rider and a superb archer, but she knows her limits and she leaves the wrestling to Gabriel. She doesn’t run off and do stupid things, and she isn’t afraid to ask for help. She and Gabriel are true partners.
Gabriel is not really a man comfortable with the restrictions placed on him by his society. He was a good soldier, but he longs for something more. Banking, the only position he can see for himself , isn’t it and while he wants a wife, the usual sweet Victorian miss would only bore him. Thalia and he make a wonderful pair.
Warrior is a promising beginning to what looks like a fun series. I love the Indiana Jones movies, I love the Mummy movies and I love the novels of H. Rider Haggard (She). This series combines all the best parts of these and serves them up in a most enjoyable read.