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Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson
Review by Mel Jacob
Leisure Books Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780843959772
Date: 02 October 2007 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Rein Tairen Soul, King of the Fey, fights to save his dying race, while Ellie Baristani, putative woodcarver's daughter, fights to maintain her sanity and keep her soul from evil possession. In C.L. Wilson's debut novel for Dorchester's SHOMI series the two struggles become one.

Rein seeks to reinvigorate his people and their familiars, the tairen, large fierce flying felines. Plagued since childhood by night terrors, Ellie struggles against an unimaginable evil that stalks her to gain her latent powers to destroy Rein and the Fey.

When enmeshed in a nightmare, Ellie calls out for help, and her desperate plea reaches Rein. He recognizes in her his truemate, something no Tairen Soul has ever had. At first, despite strong physical attraction, Ellie rejects him and keeps her terrors secret.

Den Brodson, a butcher's son Ellie detests, also senses her power. Despite her fierce resistance, he places his mark upon her, forcing her family to agree to a betrothal or risk becoming social outcasts.

When Rein claims Ellie as his Queen, Den petitions the Celierian Court to make Ellie honor the marriage contract her parents signed. Political considerations and alliances defeat Den. His loss only makes him more determined to gain Ellie. He becomes a tool for others seeking her.

Wilson uses the traditional elements of good versus evil to create a world with a shape shifter king who takes on tairen form to intimidate enemies. The semi-immortal Fey warriors have the ability to manipulate the elements around them as well as skills in the martial arts. After Rein defeated the evil Eld Mages more than a thousand years before, they have consolidated power to rule the world and destroy the remaining Fey. They also discovered how to cloak their spells to avoid Fey detection. The chief Mage of the Eld once held the child Ellie captive and is determined to recover her and subvert her powers to defeat Rein and the Fey. His Celierian agent, Kolis, seeks to test Ellie to ensure she is the one sought without the Fey and Rein detecting him or his spells. His schemes almost kill her.

Ellie struggles against her desire for Rein, her fear of the evil she senses deep within her, and the behavior required by her position as Rein's queen. The engagement to Rein brings new responsibilities and strains her patience. It also creates new enemies bent on destroying her.

As expected in a Dorchester fantasy, romance plays a major role and sexual appetites motivate most characters. The novel ends without resolution. The Fey struggle against the resurgent Eld Mages has only begun and will continue in Wilson's next Tairen novel, Lady of Light and Shadows, scheduled for release in November of 2007.

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