by Karen Marie Moning

March 1999
ISBN: 0-440-23480-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Dell Publishing
Mass Market Paperback

I love a time-travel when it is well written and believable. In my opinion, Ms. Moning has succeeded in making me believe that Fairies exist and that they don't give a second thought to playing "god" with the lives of mortals our of revenge or boredom.

This book's main character's, Adrienne and Hawk are very likable. Unknown to either Adrienne or Hawk there is a plan being put into action by the Fairy fool, Adam Black and Finnbheara, the King of the Fairies to use Adrienne as a weapon of revenge against Hawk. Of course, the path to true love is never smooth. As we see with Adrienne and Hawk's struggle to trust each other and their relationship.

After Hawk's initial resistance to the forced marriage between himself and Adrienne he is willing to give it a try. Adrienne is the one who keeps placing barriers up against their getting to know one another. She of all people should understand that appearances could be deceiving that you can't always believe what you see or what others tell you. The man she was engaged betrayed her to, Eberhard Darrow. He was a pillar of the community, upstanding businessman and "beautiful" on the outside. Because of this, she was unwilling to believe that Hawk was sincere in his feelings toward her. It didn't help that the fairy fool, Adam Black, kept interfering in the progress of their relationship by trying to entice her into becoming intimate with him. Hawk's position wasn't helped by the fact that he wasn't present at their wedding and sent a proxy to take his place.

Although Hawk appears "perfect" you get the sense that he is also human. He is beautiful, a skilled warrior and a legendary lover. But he also yearns for a family. Unknown to Adrienne, Hawk has designed and decorated a nursery in his keep, filled with toys, books, cradles and beds for the children he wishes to one day have. All the toys and furnishings in the room were made by his had. All this was done when he was given time off from his 15 years of service to King James. His life has not been perfect. He has been forced to do things that he is not proud of in order to safeguard the lives of the people that he cares for. Hawk's parents met and fell in love at the court of King James. The King was enamored of Hawk's mother Lydia, and announced to the court that she would be his bride, when she refused and announced her love and betrothal to Hawk's father the king was furious and when her husband died he bound Hawk to him for 15 years of service. During this time Hawk became known as the "king's whore". He was commanded by King James to do whatever he wished him to do or forfeit the lives of all his people at Dalkeith, his home.

Throughout the book, Adam Black, the Fairy fool, is constantly trying to undermine the relationship that is developing between Hawk and Adrienne. He finally succeeds in a way that is, of course, underhanded and devious. Hawk's revenge against the fairy fool and how he gets Adrienne back is cool. There is a legend that states, if you know the true name of a fairy you can command him to obey you. He then goes on to compose one of the longest "commands" in history. By the time he is done Adam is willing to do anything to get him to stop.

The secondary characters are fun and believable. Tavis McTarvitt the tanner and cook, who has been in love with Hawks mother for quite a while, is really very nice. To watch the awakening of their relationship is sweet. Grimm Roderick, Hawk's best friend and Captain of the guard, is definitely formidable. He gets his own story next. I would definitely recommend this book. This is a great time-travel story. Those who enjoy time-travel books as well as those who've never read one before should give Moning a try.

Reviewed in July 2001 by Carolyn.

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