In Crystal Flame, Jayne Ann Krentz brings her considerable talents to bear on the story of a cool beauty, Kalena, and the man they call Fire Whip, the Trade Master Ridge.
Once again, Ms. Krentz takes her romance off-world, to another time and another galaxy where the settings are unique, the creatures bizarrely wonderful, and the traditions and beliefs quite alien in nature. The one thing that remains familiar is the passion between the lovers. But that is not a simple matter of “I see and I love” because Kalena is, in fact, betrothed to Ridge. She uses the fact of her betrothal to gain access to her target, Quintel, Ridge’s boss and the man she has come to kill.
Here again, in this early book by Jayne Ann Krentz (the first issue was released in 1986), we are privileged to see a plot of detailed intricacy unfold in a thorough and leisurely fashion through the chapters. Kalena’s failure to accomplish her mission is only the beginning of her adventures with Ridge, the real excitement follows the couple as they travel through dangerous terrain together – that of the real world and that of the love that is beginning to burn hot between them.
These characters dominate this tale, Kalena is strong and determined, and is well matched by Ridge’s stubborn obstinacy and sensual cunning. It’s unusual to find such a strong lead pair in a book of this vintage – perhaps the freedom of an alien world allowed Ms. Krentz to create a heroine that would become very typical of her writings a decade later. Whatever the reason, this is a marvellous book for anyone who enjoys a touch of the intergalactic with their romance; the passion bubbles hot and true and the story is spellbinding.
I note that this book is about to be re-released yet again in a two-story set with “Sweet Starfire” (a really smart decision, Warner Books!!). If you haven’t read either book, you’re in for a treat – do rush out and grab it as soon as it’s available, and then get ready for a wild space flight to romance!!