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Ravenwolf

ISBN: 978-1-58749-656-1

By Kelley Heckart
Reviewer: Cheryl Townsend

January 2009

One needs to get their bearings straight when reading this book, as it follows the normal complexity of Mythology with an abundance of deaths & resurrections, transformations and hard to pronounce names. It’s the story of Nemu, a currently mortal/once Druid-Goddess and her husband, Ambriorix, who is in hiding from the Roman army he deserted. They live in seclusion with their son, Bran, who is relegated to being a sidebar in this twist and turn story of vengeance, desire, jealousy, deceit, and robust sex. It’s nonstop drama, (as all mythology is), and somewhat hard to follow with the hidden stories going on with just hints as to something bigger to follow. Then there is the further befuddling of it being told first and third person, with more than one view. Oy! BUT, aside from that, (and an eye-rolling over-usage of adjectives) it was a compelling read. Once into it, I was IN to it.

When Nemu & Ambriorix decide their son needs a more diverse education, they set out to deliver him to both Druid and warrior teachers. He’s no sooner out of their sight then all Hell breaks loose. Nemu goes to ask about reoccurring dreams she has been having while Ambriorix is taken on a “hunting” excursion with friends. Once the couple are separated, the divisions are expanded. Old enemies work their magic against Nemu for the grudges incurred in her past life as a Goddess. The Roman army captures Ambriorix and traps him back into service. Both are told the other is in danger and they set out to sideline a way back to each other while, unbeknownst to them, they are also following the plans of those who wish them the most harm.

Along the way, there are reawakened Goddesses that lend a helping wing, warriors that deter from their swords, and a binding love that prevails against all the folly thrown at it. Nemu, in her past life as the Goddess Becuille, had a bevy of lovers who all hold a torch for her. Gods & Goddesses that they are, they have the resources to get what they want. She is captured and freed consistently with each escape causing another temporary death.

Meanwhile, Ambriorix is following Roman orders to find a renegade battalion of soldiers with troops that still harbor traitor views of him. Of course he wins their respect via the battles he faces and his intuitive leadership. There are constant loyalty tests thrown at him, of both Roman and matrimonial sorts, which he passes with flying colors.

There are lapses in memory that recover and powers that are restored to show everyone involved why their tormentors have such a penchant for ruining their lives. And there are a lot of lives being ruined here. Shapeshifting tormentors worm their wiles in to deceive and score. Soul stealing and body trading trickery abounds. It’s an all-out battle with no one really knowing whom they can trust.

All in all, it’s a story of love so strong, spells, curses, misinformation, and the Roman army could not destroy. It was a perplexing read, but still a gripping one. My thinking is to leave the more graphic details of the sex scenes out (or, except in the case of sex-magic, leave them to innuendo) and fraction down the usage of adjectives to open it up to a wider audience. There’s no sex in the Harry Potter series and every age is hooked on those books.

I appreciated her historical appreciation for Celtic lore and wanted to mention that she has a website where she further demonstrates her research at www.kelleyheckart.com

 

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