Lady of Light and Shadows
by C.L. Wilson
Review by Mel Jacob
Leisure Books Mass Market ISBN/ITEM#: 9780843959789
Date: November 2007 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
In C.L. Wilson's debut novel, Lord of the Fading Lands, Rein Tairen Soul, King of the Fey, fought to save his dying race, while Ellie Baristani, putative woodcarver's daughter, fought to maintain her sanity and keep her soul from evil possession. Now in Lady of Light and Shadow they confront the powers of evil that would destroy them and their world.
All her life Ellie has feared and shunned magic. Haunted by the fear of the Shadow Man, she hides and denies her abilities. To bond with her truemate Rein, she must embrace her power and learn to wield it wisely. Her initial attempts wreck havoc on those near her. Ellie's growing powers amaze the Fey, but also complicate their task of protecting her.
Rein and his Fey warriors use every skill, including their considerable magic abilities, to protect Ellie from those who would destroy her including the evil High Mage Vadim Maur who covets her power and her soul. Scheme after scheme puts her and the Fey at risk. Death and destruction abound. Maur's agent Kolis subverts Ellie's friends, her former suitor, the Queen of Celieria, and even uses the love of Ellie's adoptive mother in the struggle to ensnare her.
Ellie's real parents hid her as an infant from the High Mage. Subjected to centuries of torture, they still protect her. The Mage uses her father to maintain a trace on Ellie.
Rein hates the Eld and the Mages. A thousand years earlier he led the struggle against their last effort to conquer the world. Bitter memories of lost friends and the killing of his former mate compel him to fight efforts of Celierian nobles to approve a treaty with the Eld. Agents of the High Mage fuel Celierian distrust of their Fey allies who view the Eld as a means to diminish Fey domination of Celieria.
The Eld High Mage has schemed for centuries and planted agents in the Celierian capitol to destroy the Fey and conquer Celieria. The Well of Souls, a demon-inhabited pathway between Eld and other places, provides a way to transport his Eld army anywhere without detection. Meanwhile, he offers trade to the Celierians if they agree to open their borders to the Eld.
An outlaw Fey, Gaelen, called the Dark Lord encounters two dying Fey warriors sent to learn Ellie's origins. He suffers serious injuries when he fights their attackers. Unable to save them, he discovers the High Mage claims Ellie as his daughter. The danger to the Fey and to the sister Gaelen still loves drives the wounded warrior toward the Celierian capitol to destroy Ellie. Gaelen, unlike other Fey, commands not only the five weaves: Spirit, Air, Fire, Earth, and Water, but also uses Azahn, the dark magic forbidden to the Fey. They fear its use will make them easy prey for the Eld.
As in most Leisure Dorchester fantasies, liberal doses of steamy sex titillate the reader. Because Rein has promised Ellie's father to maintain her chastity until after the wedding, he must resort to Spirit weaves to satisfy Ellie and himself while keeping his vow. No such barriers bother Kolis who uses sex to subvert others, including the Queen of Celieria.
A few inconsistencies mar an otherwise satisfying readóWilson leaves unexplained the High Mage's marks on Ellie. She has created a rich fantasy world and left enough unfinished to provide for more stories of the titanic struggle against the Eld and the High Mage.