by Judith B. Glad

ISBN: 1-58749-297-0
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Malachi is the hero who lives under the assumed name Malcolm, because there is a price on his head. Nellie is the heroine whose uncle hires Malachi as an expedition leader. Her uncle is a botanist.

I found the first half dozen chapters a bit confusing because so many characters were introduced, because of the heroís two names, and each personís habit of switching between first names and surnames. It seemed there were more characters than there really were until I got used to who they all were.

The reader learns a lot about botany. The author is a trained botanist and she uses this knowledge to good effect, also explaining the rarity of a woman on such an expedition as Nellieís uncle has undertaken to find new species of flowers and fauna.

The passion between Malachi and Nellie is very strong and does add enjoyment to the story. The have good chemistry between them.

The strange character of Gertie keeps popping up through the story, and she is the source of the main plot and tension in the book. At times it is gripping, at other times confusing, as I felt it didnít make a lot of sense. Though the way the author put the paragraphs in the story kept the suspense up until the reader discovers what the purpose of the plotline is, then it loses its impact.

The lonely starkness of the countryside they travel through is described awesomely and the reader can feel like they are a part of the landscape at times.

There are more problems to solve and deceit also comes into the story. Certainly a lot of work went into the writing of the book. I would have preferred the story to be a lot faster paced than it was.

Reviewed in January 2003 by Mary.

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