The Flame and the Shadow
by Denise Rossetti
Review by Carolyn Frank
Ace Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441016341
Date: 04 November 2008 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Warning! This erotica is suitable only for mature audiences, but quite pleasurable for those who enjoy spectacularly sexual romance. Cenda has awoken from a deadly fever that claimed the life of her precious toddler daughter as a fire witch, capable of generating although not controlling flames from within herself. Grayson, self-styled Duke of Ombra, is a mercenary out to seduce Cenda and bring her to the one wizard who has promised him his heart's desire. He is a man at odds with his own shadow, which is capable of some separate thoughts and actions. He desperately wishes for his shadow, Shad, to be out of his life. Cenda and Grayson are The Flame and The Shadow in this highly erotic romantic fantasy, as they learn to love themselves and eventually each other.
Grayson has come to the planet as a member of the Unearthly Opera, a music hall revue with various acts of singing, dancing, and storytelling. The Duke of Ombra has his duchess, his antique lap harp, that he treasures above all else. Having lured Cenda with the music from his duchess at one of his performances, Grayson proceeds with his plan to seduce her, but a fire witch without much control is rather dangerous to more than her own somewhat scorched clothing.
Most of the action takes place on Sybaris, nominally a pleasure planet. Over the past eight hundred plus years of humanoid civilization, the colonizers had mostly wrecked the native ecology of the planet, leaving only a few scattered remnants of the original landscape. Now the planet makes its money from the tourist trade, focusing on the seamier aspects.
Two elite cadres from the wider universe also are represented here. Technomages are the scientists/engineers who invent, design and study the forces of nature and of man. They are in charge of the spaceport and of all of the major technology on the planet. Wizards are the masters of Magick, and as such foster and train those who come to research and expand magical skills and capacities. With both the Technomages and the Wizards realizing the potential of a fire witch, apparently the first one in centuries, Cenda and Grayson careen around Sybaris in attempts to follow their own desires.
The erotica is in high supply and the sexual tension is repeatedly built up and released only to to be built again. If you enjoy reading about sensual sex, and like the sex to be flaming hot and steamy, this erotic romance in an unearthly universe will seductively draw you in.