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In a fascinating sequel to Warprize (2005), Lara, the Queen of Xy, and Kier, warlord of the Firelanders, are on the way to his people's homeland. When scouts report that a walled village of the Xy has denied them entry, Kier and his troops are ready to annihilate the village. Lara intervenes, and discovers that a plague has killed nearly everyone inside. When she begins to sicken, Kier helps heal her. As the plague hits the entire army encampment, taking hundreds of lives, Kier's second conspires to displace him. Readers will be delighted to learn more of the customs of this unique civilization, and they will enjoy the growing love between Lara and Kier. It is refreshing for the conflict in a romance to eschew petty misunderstandings and present, instead, life-and-death situations through which together the hero and heroine become stronger. The emphasis is on the emotional rather than the physical in Vaughan's unusual and thoroughly enjoyable tale. Diana Tixier Herald
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