Susan Grant has done it again! With her latest release she has given readers an exciting, yet highly emotional story, with a dash of sci-fi to it. Mix it all together and you have a satisfying start to her brand new series entitled The Lost Colony.
General Uhr-Tao is a Tassagon whose people eschew technology thinking it based on magic and therefore dangerous. He's just returned home triumphant from defeating the Gorr, a bloodthirsty creature reminiscent of the Wolfman. In his absence King Xim, who's married to Uhr's sister, has segregated another race of people who do all the daily labor for the Tassagons into living in The Ghetto because he fears their more advanced technology that he sees as magic and a threat to his reign. The Kurel have agreed to the arrangement but the more severe King Xim becomes with his edicts in regards to them, the closer they get to rebellion. For one Kurel in particular, Elsabeth the tutor to King Xim's children, revenge is personal since his soldiers killed her parents in cold blood for practicing medicine. As King Xim becomes more paranoid to keep control of his kingdom, the more dangerous it becomes for both Tassagon and Kurel and the line between friends and enemies becomes more blurred.
Uhr-Tao is the perfect hero, sexy and strong. Through the King's paranoia he goes from hero to traitor in the blink of an eye and ends up hiding in The Ghetto relying on those who fear him for his warmongering ways. He's left in Elsabeth's care and must learn the ways of the Kurel to remain in their community. From that moment on a romance is kindled that starts out sweet and slow and builds to a steamy conclusion. Tao takes his time with Elsabeth and it makes for a very believable and extremely satisfying relationship where they actually talked and got to know one another before joining together. Tao further endears himself to me by asking to learn to read and knowing he'll be a better man because of it. And it's just another way to see the attraction between him and Elsabeth where more was said with a look and a touch than any words could possibly convey.
Elsabeth is a wonderful heroine, strong and smart. She's very curious about the outside world and yearns to know everything about Tao. Their talks were some of the most touching scenes and showed me just how connected they'd become. Her anger towards the King was justified but she never let it blind her to the goodness in other Tassagons. She worked side by side with them for the good of all their people.
King Xim is a complex villain who adores his wife and shows his tender side when in her presence, but is truly villainous towards the Kurel and those he sees as a threat. He has no loyalty towards those he thinks are after his throne. His paranoia gets worse as the story progresses and it's being fueled by a vindictive military man, General Beck. In an attempt to counteract Beck's influence, Tao's friend Markham tries to nudge the King towards doing what's right but it's a constant and subtle battle between Beck and Markham for King Xim's soul. As the end of the story swiftly draws near, palace intrigue leads to a bloody confrontation where men's true colors come through and the rightful ruler finally ends up on the throne.
There are many exciting secondary characters among both the Tassagons and Kurel that left a lasting impression on me and that I'd love to see more of in future stories. Outside the walls of the kingdom are even more intriguing races that were also affected by King Xim's rule and I'd like their story to be told as well.
I loved everything about this story! There was exciting action and well-written characters, both primary and secondary, that made for a story that flowed along beautifully. The romance was very emotional and moved at a believable pace. This is a wonderful start to a new series and I can't wait for the next installment. I give Ms. Grant a big thumbs up for this wonderful story and highly recommend it to others.
My rating for this is an A+
*I received this from NetGalley for reviewing purposes.
*Book cover photo courtesy of www.goodreads.com.