Lone Arrow’s Pride

Night Thunder's Bride

White Eagle's Touch

War Cloud's Passion

Wolf Shadow's Promise

The Princess and the Wolf
by Karen Kay
(Avon, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-380-82068-4
The Princess and the Wolf is the first novel in Kay’s “Clan of the Wolf” Series. High Wolf, Princess Sierra and Prince Alathom are the greatest of friends. For the last six years, High Wolf has lived in Baden-Baden in Southern Germany with Prince Alathom’s family, being brought up and educated as though he were the Prince’s own brother. During this time the three friends spent much time together and eventually Princess Sierra and High Wolf fell in love, and now plan to marry.

The Prince’s father has other plan and, during a grand ball, announces the engagement of Prince Alathom and Princess Sierra, to the horror of the threesome. They had expected the engagement to be between the Princess and High Wolf, as it is no secret they are in love. The three make a pact to meet late that night and sail to Scotland where High Wolf and Sierra can marry. The newlyweds will return within a fortnight to announce their marriage to the families. Prince Alathom just wants to disappear.

Unfortunately, fate has other plans that night and the three are separated. High Wolf and Sierra are lied to by Father Junipero, who appears friendly and loving to others, but is secretly an evil man who wants to rule the land himself. He tells both Sierra and High Wolf that the other is no longer in love and the marriage is to go on as planned between the Prince and Princess. Both Sierra and High Wolf are given enough “evidence” to believe that Father Junipero is telling the truth.

Fast forward ten years to 1834. Princess Sierra, believing all these years she had been betrayed by both of her best friends, arrives in St. Louis to hunt for Prince Alathom. Sierra has been the brunt of gossip and rumors for years because of the Prince’s disappearance. Prince Alathom was rumored to be in North America, but Sierra receives word that he died while in the company of Indians. Sierra wishes to prove for herself that the rumor is true. If he is found alive, however, she wants to bring him back to Baden-Baden to rule the land as duty dictates, or kill him trying.

Princess Sierra requests the help of her old friend, High Wolf, who is now a well known Clan of the Wolf scout. Unfortunately, High Wolf also believed he had been betrayed by both of his best friends and holds great resentment toward Sierra. Despite their near-hatred for each other, they are brought together after a tragic incident that would have killed Sierra, had High Wolf not been nearby to rescue her. Eventually he agrees to help her in her quest to find information about the Prince, but the quest is not without hardship.

It doesn’t take long for Sierra and High Wolf to discover they are both still in love with each other and the result is the most romantic story I’ve ever had the good fortune to read. Because they are both in Indian territory, High Wolf and Sierra have to be careful about how they traverse the land. Most of the time they are hiding by day and traveling by night to conceal themselves from other, more hostile, Indians while they search for information about the missing Prince Alathom. This puts them in very close contact, which ends up being very sexy and incredibly romantic as their love for each other blooms and their situation becomes more fragile.

The author does an great job of bringing the Native Americans to life and intertwining their real lives with the fictional story. Their daily lives and customs are fascinating and I have a new found respect for them. The story is highly intriguing as well and it was difficult to put the book down for any length of time.

Readers should be warned that the dialogue is highly formal. Since Princess Sierra and High Wolf were raised in a formal society of ruling monarchs, their manners and speech are formal as well. It was a bit difficult to take for the first few chapters, but eventually it becomes obvious that the story just wouldn’t be the same without the formal dialogue, especially when it comes to declarations of love and romance that just melt the heart. It does seem a bit impersonal, however, when Sierra is referred to as “the princess” quite often by many of the characters.

The only real problem with the story is that the reason for High Wolf being raised as Prince Alathom’s brother was never explained to satisfaction. He had saved the Prince’s life during a buffalo hunt in America. And it was also mentioned that because he was a hero they granted his greatest wish, which was to experience a grand adventure in a far away land. But why High Wolf’s tribe allowed him to go was never mentioned. Or why High Wolf would have wanted to live among the aristocracy. Or why he stayed on so long and was treated as the Prince’s own brother.

Otherwise, The Princess and the Wolf is a wonderful read. I look forward to reading the next installment in Kay’s “Clan of the Wolf” series.

--Tracy Merritt

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