by Stephanie Burke

October 2004
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Stephanie Burke’s imagination must be a whirling dervish that by its very definition never slows down and never gives any quarter. Every time I read one of Ms. Burke’s stories, I am taken aback by their originality. Reading them prompts the question: Where are on earth does she come up with these story lines? Reaver of Souls prompted this question…over and over again.

This is not a bad thing. Originality is always good. Combine that with creativity, humor and wit and you have a very good story. In Reaver of Souls, Ms. Burke introduces us to two of her more lively characters, Sable and Torn. Sable is a talented American sculptor who has left home, country and a troubled past to journey to Scotland, where her work is appreciated. Hurtling down the road one day on her “monster bike” and singing at the top of her lungs, Sable is confronted with the most disconcerting of sights. A man literally falls from the sky.

He is a beautiful man (sigh…some women have all the luck). Anyway, as the story goes on, we learn that the person who has fallen from the sky is Torn and he is a being from another realm. He is actually The Reaver of Souls, charged with traveling the magical realm to secretly protect the innocent. He has the ability to do many things, including heal, cleanse and let’s not forget the most ominous talent, kill evil. He has been betrayed by a woman with ulterior motives (she just happens to be his fiancée) and he is snatched from everything he knows and sent to earth.

Torn is well…torn. On the one hand, he’s a demon and on the other hand he’s a man with lavender eyes and elf-like ears. He has always been merely tolerated in his world and he has never been able to reconcile the two parts of himself. Lucky for him, he meets Sable. She is able to help him heal and be at peace. But along the way, they enjoy an erotic passion and are confronted by a bodyguard and an angry ex-fiancée.

This is a wonderful story. Ms. Burke deserves a round of applause.

Reviewed in April 2005 by Lisa.

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