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In Bonds of the Earth (The Watchers) Paperback – January 31, 2017
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"An absolute must read. In this, In Bonds of the Earth, Janine Ashbless' impressive knowledge of primeval Christianity and her passion for plot-brimming storytelling renders yet another gripping fantasy that ravishes readers, all while on a journey to the ancient rock-cut churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia. I must confess...I would follow Ashbless' Milja and her exquisitely rebellious Azazel anywhere. My heart quickens for book three."-Rose Caraway, writer, audiobook narrator, and editor of The Sexy Librarian series "No one weaves together sizzling erotica and ace storytelling better than Janine Ashbless. Her books are always a pleasure to read."-K D Grace, author of The Tutor & The Initiation of Ms Holly "Janine Ashbless creates pure magic with words-her stories are darkly erotic and enticing, powerful and wickedly strange, yet at their very core, romantic. Poetry for dark angels and a tale that will literally hold readers enthralled...hold them, and not lightly set them free."-Kate Douglas, bestselling author of Wolf Tales, Spirit Wild, and Intimate Relations
About the Author
Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure. She likes to write about magic and myth and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000. She's also had numerous short stories published by Black Lace, Nexus, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Harlequin Spice, Storm Moon, Xcite, Mischief Books, and Ellora's Cave among others. She is co-editor of the nerd erotica anthology 'Geek Love'. Born in Wales, Janine now lives in the North of England with her husband and two rescued greyhounds. She has worked as a cleaner, library assistant, computer programmer, local government tree officer, and - for five years of muddy feet and shouting - as a full-time costumed Viking. Janine loves goatee beards, ancient ruins, minotaurs, trees, mummies, having her cake and eating it, and holidaying in countries with really bad public sewerage. Her work has been described as: "Hardcore and literate" (Madeline Moore) and "Vivid and tempestuous and dangerous, and bursting with sacrifice, death and love." (Portia Da Costa)
Top customer reviews
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The story is told in first person from the viewpoint of Milja, somewhat wiser now after having freed fallen angel Azazel from eons of bondage, she is doubtful about her lover’s plan to release his “brothers” from their prisons in order to mount a new assault on the forces of heaven. His search leads them to the labyrinth of ancient monolithic rock-cut churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia, where the priests, wielding the rusted relics of saints, guard a secret that humankind must never know. (No spoilers here, but let’s just say that the mid-story climax—and Ashbless’ way of relating it—is exciting as all get out!)
The romantic leads are realistically imperfect here; Milja is smart and beautiful, but also still rather naïve, not always wise in the ways of human—or angelic—behavior, and still vulnerable where the heart—not to mention her hair-trigger erotic responses—are concerned. She describes Azazel, for all his physical allure, as not very bright, a musclebound creature who lives in the here and now without much thought for consequence or the feelings of others, least of all Milja’s.
I was—as ever—impressed by Ashbless’ ability to set her tale within a broad historical and cultural context without resorting to obvious “data dumps” or dry narrative digressions; the fascinating history of Lalibela is woven so subtly into the fabric of the story as to seem perfectly of a piece with the unfolding adventure. The author’s erudition shines through, illuminating the story without ever casting shade on the reader. Milja’s informal conversational style does not clash with her obvious intelligence, but brings readers comfortably along, never making them feel patronized or inadequate.
This entry in the series closes with a shattering cliffhanger that will have readers on the edge of their seats, hearts pounding in their throats, and practically howling in half-fulfilled frustration! I felt afterwards as if I’d enjoyed an extraordinary meal, richly fed to be sure, yet craving still more, able only to dream of “next time.”
Well worth the wait—and let’s hope the wait for the third book won’t be too long!—"In Bonds of the Earth" is enthusiastically recommended!
I didn’t know what to expect when I read Cover Him With Darkness, the first in the trilogy, but I thought I might have a feel for this one. I was wrong—nothing is as expected, and yet everything fits perfectly. Milja Petak’s character is at once siren and child, seductress and innocent, and I found myself looking at Azazel as a rather large, overly sexed child. No filters, no rules, cruel and yet loving, but thoughtless, like a little boy, thinking mostly of himself—and Milja when it suits him. Or when she calls.
I’m still trying to figure out Egan who, in his own way, is more twisted than Azazel, trapped in his religious duty while lusting after Milja. I think he truly loves her, but he is so conflicted that I want to throttle him. I’m not religious, so I might not be the right person to have opinions on a story so steeped in religious history, but I love the detail and the background. I did some religious studies in college (almost fifty years ago!) and the classes were pretty dry and boring. If the professor had taught with Ms. Ashbless’s books at hand, I might have paid more attention!
This is truly a work of art—the author has taken the most difficult part of a trilogy—the middle— and made it absolutely fascinating. (It’s so easy to bog down in the middle—I see no bogging here!) I will admit to a frustrated whimper when I finished the last page. Ms. Ashbless, please! Write faster! I have no idea how she plans to end this amazing story, but it’s going to drive me nuts waiting to find out!
Obviously, I’ll need to reread the first two. It’s very hard to set either of these books aside.