by Kate Hill

March 2003
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The Knights of The Ruby Order: Torn, was a fabulous look back in time, where captive male slaves were used as sport in the game of death!

Honey Wine is a slave healer, banished to the bowels of her sisters' palace, she tends to the wounded after theyíve participated in The Entertainment. Honey Wineís sister, Alva sends her to guard, and help heal, the men wounded from fighting, as Honey Wineís ultimate punishment for her disgust over The Entertainment. Knowing Honey Wine detests the blood sport, Alva takes great pleasure in taunting Honey Wine with the new captive, Torn.

Torn, Honey Wine comes to find, is from the Knights of the Ruby Order, and none too pleased about what heís made to do as a result of his captivity. As a Knight of The Ruby Order, Torn was taught to lend aid to the suffering, not be the cause of pain. Torn refuses to speak while in captivity, but is drawn to Honey Wine when she tends to his wounds. Soon the two find they canít escape the desire that mounts between them, and Torn canít continue to resist the urge to kill his opponents, or he may lose his own life. Together the two plan to end The Entertainment, but can they succeed before Torn is killed or Honey Wine is caught helping him?

This particular read reminded me a bit of the movie The Gladiator, with respect to men from all walks of life being captured and forced to fight, or die. The setting itself was descriptively stark; I felt Tornís desolation, and tasted his bitter anger over his capture!

Honey Wine is a tough cookie, and held her own against her fellow guards rather impressively. Portrayed with a tough as nails on the exterior, she evolves into a caring, thinking human being, with insecurities and self doubt plaguing her.

Torn is reserved, and introspective, which made him undeniably sexy, and powerful. Well written and finely crafted, with genuine detail to her characters are what makes this author so in demand.

A fine read, and a smooth departure from Ms. Hillís vampires (whom this reader highly recommends), a journey to a time when blood sport was as popular as Sunday night football, and a sexy Knight awaits you!

Reviewed in March 2003 by Connie.

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