Beguiled

The Captive Bride

The Stolen Bride

Touch of Night

 
Touch of Passion
by Susan Spencer Paul
(St Martinís, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-312-93388-6
****
Susan Spencer Paul has written another lovely book about the magic-using Seymour clan of 1800s England. Touch of Passion tells the story of Kian Seymour, cousin to the hero of the previous novel in the series, Touch of Night. Like his cousin in the earlier book, Kian has been ďblood cursedĒ by the guardians over magic users for inadvertently using his powers to kill a mortal.

While overindulging in spirits and women at a scummy inn in London, a drunken Kian, age seventeen, meets his one true mate. That she is only a child and a servant at the inn makes no difference to Kian. The girl, Loris, is Kianís ďoneness,Ē his unoliaeth, the soul gifted to him by the guardians to love forever. Loris knows all about Kian from the prostitutes that work at the inn, and this, coupled (excuse the pun) with his suddenly overwhelming interest in her, frightens Loris. Kian discovers that Loris has been sold to a whore-master by the owners of the inn, and in trying to save her causes a fight that ends with Kian being seriously injured and Lorisí purchaser dead. Kianís curse is the result, and it is manifested in the physical pain that Loris feels from Kianís touch, and her conflicting feelings for him. Kian knows he canít live without Loris, so he has her taken to his familyís castle in Wales.

Ten years later, Kian is head of his branch of the Seymours and heís still gotten nowhere with Loris. She still despises him most of the time and they fight almost constantly. Loris also refuses to believe in the whole unoliaeth thing, and her denial causes Kian much emotional pain. Although Loris never wants to leave Kianís beloved castle, she is convinced to travel to London, ostensibly to meet with a nobleman who may be her grandfather, but mainly to get her away from the dangerous troubles that have been occurring all over Kianís property.

The troubles are the work of the Seymoursí enemy, Morcar Cadmaran, Lord Llew. Morcar is a vicious and powerful wizard with a huge hatred of the entire Seymour clan, and heís also, unfortunately, Kianís neighbor. Morcar has enlisted the help of a pre-eminent American wizard to awaken an ancient monster, which he sends to Kianís land to eat livestock and destroy property. Kian knows that he cannot ask the head wizard of his family, Malachi, for help, because Morcar will use his close proximity to attempt to destroy Malachi. So Kian has to attempt to solve the problem of the unstoppable monster on his own.

Meanwhile in London, Loris is miserable being away from Castle Tylluan. Loris misses Kian terribly. Perhaps the unoliaeth is real after all, and not quite as one-sided as Loris had supposed.

Ms Paulís ďTouch ofĒ books are so complex that the previous paragraphs are only the most major circumstances of the plot. Thereís also a very nice secondary romance between Kianís brother Dyfed and Morcarís American betrothed, Desdemona, as well as the continuing story of Morcarís rivalry with Malachi. Lorisí erstwhile suitor, Tauron Cadmaran, is an interesting character and should probably have a story of his own. For all the plotís complexity, the author does a great job of keeping the details straight and the pace fast.

Itís so wonderful to read a plot driven paranormal with different, interesting characters! There arenít any hugely endowed vampires, or crazy werewolf sex scenes (which I love, donít get me wrong), but this book doesnít need them to stimulate interest. Thereís plenty of romance, although itís more subtle, and more than enough action and emotion to make the reading well worth your while.

Thank you Ms. Paul, Touch of Passion is a great book and I definitely recommend it. Will you publish Malachiís story next, please?

--Wendy Livingston


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