by: Susan Grant
$7.99 mass market paperback
Released: April 2011
When Elsabeth was a child, she watched her family slaughtered in front of her by the Tassagons. Years later, she works at the Tassagon palace as a tutor to the King's children. But she has an ulterior motive. The real reason she took the job was to help take down the king, who issued the orders to kill her parents and lock her people, the Kurel, into a gated section of the kingdom. She'll stop at nothing to see justice served, and her people set free.
Tao has spent years leading the king's army into battle, but now the battle is finally won. He returns home expecting a hero's welcome, but instead finds the kingdom in tatters, as their king becomes more and more suspicious and fearful of everyone around him. Falsely accused of treason, Tao is thrown into prison to await execution. So much for a grand homecoming.
Although Elsabeth resents Tao and what he represents, she knows he's their best chance of overthrowing the king, so she breaks him out. But when she tells him he'll have to go into hiding with her in the grotto, he refuses, because animosity and hatred have always run deep between the two peoples. Elsabeth and Tao will have to put their prejudices aside for now so they can clear Tao's name, but that's easier said than done.
This book is about two cultures that don't understand each other, so resentment and prejudice runs rampant between them. The Kurel use medicine and are educated, while the Tassagons put no stock in book learning, and consider medicine "witchcraft". When Tao and Elsabeth first meet, they automatically assume the worst about each other. Forced to share the same living quarters, they begin to realize they're not so different after all, and begin to see that not everything they've been told about the other is true.
This was a great love story about overcoming prejudice to possibly find a happiness that's eluded them both all these years. This book could be considered fantasy, but I said sci-fi just because of the reference that the original people came from another planet. Susan Grant is one of my top five sci-fi authors, and she doesn't disappoint in this book.
Carla gives this book a