Only one thing can bend a body of steel and melt a heart of ice.Publisher: Berkley Trade
Walker, an earth shaman, has dedicated his life to the annihilation of the demon warriors who destroyed his desert tribe. As the lone survivor of the massacre, he atones by wreaking vengeance as a lethal mercenary. But his latest captive is a daring and new kind of challenge.
She is the assassin Mehcredi, forced to work alongside Walker as penance for her crimes. Abandoned as a child, Mehcredi has no concept of human relationships, no reserve, no fears, and she boldly walks through Walker’s barriers as if they were mist.
Embarking on a journey of naked revenge—and pure ecstasy—they will discover pleasures once alien to them both. But in their shadow is the most powerful and reviled demon warrior of them all—the Necromancer. He’s vowed to destroy Walker and Mehcredi once and forever, even if he must hold the entire world ransom to do it...
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Release Format: Trade Paperback
Genre: Erotic Fantasy Romance
Single Title/Series: THE LONE WARRIOR is book four in the Four-Sided Pentacle series. While the book can be read as a stand alone, the reader will most definitely gain more by reading the series in order.
Cover Thoughts: I love this cover. It portrays the hero and the setting of his homeland to perfection.
Origin: I received an Advanced Review Copy Edition from the author in exchange for an honest review.
From the moment of her birth, Mehcredi the Assassin has suffered cruelly beneath the vise grip of abuse, neglect, and torture. Abandoned mere moments after arriving into the world, first, with the death of her mother and then with sheer neglect from a would be father who ceases from that very minute to ever acknowledge their relation, Mehcredi is literally left to her own devices. Live or die, no one cares. Surviving not out the generosity of others, instead, Mehcredi is naught but a beggar of scraps, a non-member who is relegated to the lowest of the lows within Lonefell Keep. She is nothing if not a dog and is treated deliberately as such. But deep within Mehcredi lies her only saving grace: her unshakable will to survive and an unmatched bravery that's driven by both child-like ignorance and a heart with the power to bridge even the most shielded of souls.
The last surviving member of the Shar, a desert tribal people, Walker has made it his duty to avenge his family and rid the world of the demon wielding diablomen that murdered his people to extinction. Unlike Mehcredi, Walker grew up within the comforting bonds of familial love and protection but this upbringing has only served to make his loneliness and his utter isolation that much more acute. When Mehcredi, the fledgling assassin, strikes one of his friends, Walker can only feel an all consuming anger as he bears witness once again of a person intent on murdering another for nothing but selfish gain. Seizing Mehcredi, he enslaves her to his side, marking her with his shaman's magic but nothing could prepare him for the pestering and surprising innocence of his assassin.
Eventually abandoning Lonefell Keep, Mehcredi embarks on a troubled life as a failing assassin. Failing in that she can't even terminate her one and only mark with a supposedly infallible chemical agent. Instead, she doses the wrong guy! Now, captured by Walker, she's to serve her penance as a slave. While one should perhaps dislike their captor, Mehcredi feels a tantalizing draw to the solemnly cold warrior that has become the center of her world. He doesn't lie to her. He doesn't call her names or physically abuse her. Instead, he's provides her with a home, a full belly, and chores to keep her occupied. He even teaches her things. All of this culminates with Mehcredi developing curious and never before experienced emotions for the warrior. Walker makes her desire not only his praise and friendship but his touch as well. And even with what appears to be hostility on his part, Mehcredi is nothing if not determined.
When Walker receives word that the last diabloman has vacated the safety of his palace, he doesn't hesitate before planning a trip that's to be his final effort in exacting his revenge. A trip that will bring Walker within heartbreaking distance of his homeland, a world now laid barren after the loss of the Shar. Curiously, Walker is determined to take Mehcredi along. Besides, his mark demands that she stay close until removed. And while there are several reasons for Walker to remove the mark, its not permanent after all, there are also several reasons he can conjure on why he should not. None of which he's willing to look too closely at.
Bound together on a journey rife with danger, Walker and Mehcredi are forced to rely on each other for their very survival. Through sheer innocence and a mile wide stubbornness, Mehcredi slowly seduces her solemn warrior both consciously and unconsciously. And while Walker does his best to resist, he finds himself confiding in Mehcredi things that he's never told another soul and with that trust comes his need to claim. But when a danger unlike any before threatens their lives and those of their friends, Walker and Mehcredi will have to fight for more than just their survival, they'll have to protect the fragile love that's blossomed between them and the hope that they stay alive long enough to witness it grow.
Neglected since birth, Mehcredi is totally unfamiliar with emotions and actions that socialized individuals take completely for granted. And when a person is repeatedly called stupid, no matter what their level of intelligence may be, they eventually believe the sentiment to be truth. Thus, Mehcredi beats herself harshly over the head for her social ineptness yet remarkably, she remains wonderfully untainted by both her own cruel recriminations and those stated by others. Instead, she retains a child's innocence and wide-eyed wonder that effortlessly bridges her self conviction of stupidity and therefore, Mehcredi can't stop herself from jumping at the chance to learn something new. In fact, Mehcredi's starving for knowledge.
For Mehcredi, Walker is her savior. He's the bringer of her humanity and she soon lives for nothing but his stoic and limited praise. But as Mehcredi becomes more knowledgeable of human emotion and social interactions, her eyes open with dawning understanding. Her warrior is heartbreaking isolated. No one seems to care for Walker. They respect and honor him but because he's coated with a barrier of ice, no one is brave enough to delve any deeper. With this understanding, Mehcredi becomes voracious for more, more of what Walker is thinking and feeling and wanting. She aches with want for her warrior and she'll do everything she can to bridge Walker's desolate soul and bring them the happiness they both deserve.
Blood and violence and death soaks the memories of Walker's family, of his people the Shar. He's the only survivor after the invading Diablomen and their demons desecrated their land and their lives. Now, there's no other soul that can converse in his language or knows his true name. Carrying the burden of a history that will perish with his inevitable death, Walker walks through life utterly isolated., some of which by his own making. His pain is so great and weighs so heavily upon his thoughts and soul that stoicism is all he can offer to those around him. Walker's only determination to live springs solely from his need to avenge his lost people.
Mehcredi is a burst of sunshine that radiates light unwaveringly upon Walker's dark and desolate soul. Her innocence sparks his desire to protect while her tall, lithe and skillful form brings him pride in his teachings. Her openness and beguiling nature coaxes Walker into confiding his dark secrets that no one but his own heart knows gifting him with a measure of relief from their heavy burden. And finally, Mehcredi's direct and sensual nature leaves Walker's determined resistance in shocking crumbles. She unnerves him in every way but she's also become an addiction that he can't quit but one he must. Walker's feeling of inadequacy, of his past arrogance and its impact on the loss of his people makes him feel unworthy of Mehcredi's love. He feels that she deserves better and he'll throw his heart and soul into making sure she acquires the happiness she deserves. And somehow, someway, he'll manage to control the love that consumes him for his beautiful assassin.
My Final Thoughts:
An endless well of emotional complexities, THE LONE WARRIOR is a soulful epic destined to leave you breathless. Fearless in every way, Denise Rossetti tackles two incredibly multifaceted characters, gifting them the time and space to grow believably into themselves and their love.
Dark but strong, Walker draws both Mehcredi and the reader into his painful heartache. He's a lone warrior drawing out all of our feminine protective instincts to the forefront. Jaded horrifically regarding death and violence, Mehcredi adds much needed light to Walker's soul. Her innocence gifts both Walker and the reader with the chance to relive human emotions that we take for granted such as anger, guilt, desire and love. These are not unfamiliar to the reader but to Mehcredi they are and to re-experience the impact of what makes us human is exhilarating. And Rossetti doesn't short change this pairing. She dedicates nearly every word to Walker's and Mehcredi's character development. No question lay unanswered, no dilemma unresolved leaving the reader to close the book with a sigh.
Finally, the enchanting landscape of Rossetti's fantasy world is brought to life with her sweeping and elegant prose. THE LONE WARRIOR is the sweeping arid winds of the desert, the cold blistering blizzards of the mountains, and the sticky sweetness of the tropics. Clashing poetically are the unadvanced masses with the technology hording Technomages. In other words, swashbuckling pirates meet white lab coated scientists and each is as mysterious as the next.
Somewhat of a reunion novel, THE LONE WARRIOR brings past and present characters of the Four-Sided Pentacle series together, reuniting them to fight the persistent evil that continues to spread its oily clutches into the world. One side of this strange pentacle remains unrevealed and it's a guarantee that I'll be there for the final showdown.
THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW
THIEF OF LIGHT
THE LONE WARRIOR
THE DARK ROSE - Release Date TBA