by Tina St. John

April 2002
ISBN: 0-8041-1963-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Ballantine Books
Mass Market Paperback

Black Lion’s Bride is a book that shows exactly why Tina St. John is considered ‘a leading lady-author of medieval romance’. This story has it all: romance, intrigue, history, and a plot line that is unique and slightly controversial. It’s very descriptive in scenery and background, using the history of the time and the tumultuous atmosphere of the area, bringing the story alive as though you were watching a most fascinating movie.

It takes place in the desert port of Ascalon, in Jerusalem, in 1192 during the time of King Richard the Lionheart’s Crusades. Sebastian, Earl of Montborne is in service to King Richard and is overseeing the take over of the port city, to ‘liberate Jerusalem from the infidels’. He’s a very strong willed man, determined in his fight against the Muslims, with a brave heart and a compelling personality. He practically walked right off the pages of this book --- so sexy and intriguing in every way!

Zahira is daughter of the ‘King of the Assassins’ (The Mysterious Old Man of the Mountain as the people call him). She’s been trained to kill, a deadly and dangerous fida’ sent on her first assignment --- to kill King Richard. When events take a turn against her ‘assigned plans’, she finds herself at the mercy of Sebastian.

The non-stop action that follows is interwoven in the sensuous, passionate romance that develops between Sebastian and Zahira - who both realize their unexpected, forbidden love could cost them their lives in the end.

Zahira has been raised in the strict beliefs of the Muslims, and Sebastian is Christian born. Neither can see a way to get past the barriers that are set against them ever being allowed to be together in the first place.

Tina St. John is a wonderful, remarkably talented writer able to draw out the intense emotions and very-real reactions of her characters to perfection. This book is one of those “oh no, it’s three a.m. and I’m still reading --- no harm in finishing just one more chapter!” type of stories. A captivating, definite ‘keeper’.

Black Lion’s Bride is the sequel to White Lion’s Lady.

Reviewed in April 2002 by Kari.

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