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Thief of Light Paperback – November 3, 2009
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Praise for the novels of Denise Rossetti:"A MUST-READ" --Keri Arthur
“Sparkles with excitement! An inventive tale of magic and erotic adventure.”—New York Times Bestselling Author Shana Abé“Denise Rossetti is a stunning new voice in futuristic romance. She hits the scene with a thrilling view into a magical world of fantasy, magic and intrigue….I’ve not read anything like it….I’ve put Denise Rossetti on my list of authors to follow as I expect to see new and out of the box literary greatness from her.”–Night Owl Romance“Should appeal to fans of Storm Constantine and Laurel K. Hamilton.”–Library Journal“Denise Rossetti has taken the fantasy genre by storm with her print debut. THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW bursts with action, mystery and passion. Rossetti has a beautiful writing style, apparent in her descriptions of the world, her realistic dialogue and her highly developed characters who have weaknesses, learn lessons and grow as we turn the pages…. She has an extraordinary gift of language as if the words themselves create magical patterns on the page as they flow one into another so seamlessly…. I highly recommend this novel to fans of erotic romance and fantasy alike and can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment.”–Romance Junkies“Denise Rossetti transports readers of her romantic science fiction novel, THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW, to the five-mooned planet called Sybaris where an almost past- her-prime, seriously clumsy and not what anyone would call beautiful witch grieves the death of her only child. Maybe as recompense for the death, maybe something more sinister, The Lord and Lady of the afterlife endowed her with a new gift as they took Cenda's daughter during last winter's ague— the power of fire. She's the only fire witch and she's still very inept and naïve to think that it is just a run-of-the-mill ability. There are those who want her and her power and they are willing to pay. As well, there are those who will do anything to betray Cenda for their own ambition, money, power, greed, or well-being. She has no idea that she can trust nobody, least of all Grayson, Duke of Ombra, a troubadour harpist with a shadowy secret that he has come to hate. A secret shadow, that is…. THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW is the perfect blend of science fiction and erotic fantasy romance.”–Romance Readers at Heart, Top Pick“A witch whose gift of flame is born from heartbreaking loss. A man whose burden is carried from innocent boyhood, through desperate youth, to besmirched adult. These people come together for very different reasons…. Ms Rossetti opens her fantasy series with a fascinating story. Set on a pleasure planet called Sybaris, it is a world where magic and technology both exist but not contentedly. Readers will delight in the author's rich imagination as they are caught up between the dilemmas of the main characters, the fight for power between the magic wielding Pures and the Technomages, and a thorough fall into love…. One of the pleasures of reading is to find characters that so completely capture our attention. These are people who have known happiness, suffered greatly and now have some chance of joy in their lives, again. They are emotionally wounded, imperfect, and are lovable in spite of that.”–Love Romance & More“This erotica is suitable only for mature audiences, but quite pleasurable for those who enjoy spectacularly sexual romance.”–SFRevu“Captivating start to an erotic, mystical, futuristic world full of excitement and intrigue…. Denise Rossetti creates an erotic, mystical, futuristic world full of excitement and intrigue, promising even more adventure in the next book in this thrilling series. This is a great read!”–Fresh Fiction
About the Author
When Denise Rossetti was very small, she had an aunt who would tell her the most wonderful fairy tales - all original. Denise grew up, as little girls do, but the magic of story still dazzles and enthralls her. On the good days, she likes to think of herself as Scheherezade's sister. On the bad days - not so much.
She remains an incurable romantic who loves happy endings, heart-pounding adventure and the eventual triumph of good over evil. All hail the guys in the white hats - unless the ones wearing black are more...um...interesting?
Denise lives in a comfortable, messy old house in the Australian suburbs. She's small, noisy and tends to wave her hands around a lot, which can be unfortunate if the tale she's telling happens to have explosions in it.
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Erik Thorensen, known throughout the worlds as Erik the Golden, is a man both gifted and cursed. Owner and leader of the Unearthly Opera, Erik's voice can captivate any crowd. Holding them in the palm of his hand, he can reduce the masses to stark silence, completely enthralled. But his ease of enchantment bears a high price that requires strict control for with the Voice, Erik can command anyone to do anything, feel anything. It was with the Voice that Erik compelled a young girl in his past that eventually led to her doom and his eternal guilt. Sworn to never use the Voice to compel again, Erik bound himself to a strict code of honor, a code that prevents him from ever getting close to anyone until he meets Prue.
Prue McGuire is a woman living a half life. Sure she has the love of her daughter and her friends. She's also co-owner of The Garden of Nocturnal Delights and she has plenty to keep herself occupied, but despite all that she has, all that she's proud of, she's lonely. Cruelly used in the past and left alone with her then young daughter, Prue has stayed away from any man who exudes false charm and smiles filled with lies. When Erik the Golden singles her out after his soul-shaking performance, Prue is unconvinced of his interest in her. She's plain while Erik's masculine beauty could easily lead him to the most beautiful, but instead he's looking at her. Prue's guard is immediately up and she swiftly turns downs his pursuit. Even his oddly compelling voice can't waver her determination to keep distance from what must be a cruel act.
It's been years since Erik has used the Voice to compel and he's more than horrified that one small curvy woman with blue-green eyes was able to completely shatter his hard won control. Yet Prue's resistance to the Voice more than intrigues him and she prevents a challenge that he can't resist. Using Prue's bookkeeping skills, Erik carefully backs Prue into a corner of acceptance. But from this point forth, he will do everything in his power not compel Prue. He wants her, but he wants her to come to him freely.
During Erik's subtle conquest of Prue, he notices a fowl stench clinging to the Leaf of Nobility in Caracole. The gorgeous landscape of the city is built upon giant leafs. When one stands still, you can even feel the slight sway of the giant leaves upon the water. When the smell of rot has him diving into the water to investigate, he's met by a mythical beast that is now proven to be real. Seelies. Small otter-like creatures with blue fur and dark bulging eyes, surround him and take him to the origin of the smell. The stem and leaf of the Leaf of Nobility, is rotting away. Evil clings to it. The seelies, desperate for help, convey a sense of urgency that has Erik agreeing to do what he can to help. Knowing that he can trust Prue, Erik goes to her to for assistance.
Prue has never been one to believe in Magick or the Gods. Neither of them have ever done anything for her even in the most dire of times. While Erik's story of the seelies seems outlandish, she decides that she'll help him but with proof. Prue also decides to take a leap of faith with Erik personally, at least to some degree. She knows his time on Palimpest and Caracole will only be for so long before the Unearthly Opera moves on, but for the time being she can partake in the aching desires that flood her every moment in Erik's presence. While she'll indulge in her body's desire, she'll guard her heart and soul. She can't afford to fall in love.
Erik knows that Prue might be giving him her body, but she's not entrusting herself to him and while he knows it's how it should be he can't help the overwhelming possessive desires that run rampant through his soul. He wants Prue, all of Prue and as selfish as that may be, he'll do everything he can to call her his own. But Erik's not the only one who wants Prue. A sinister evil that stinks of rot and death is after her and when it successfully captures her, Erik discovers that without Prue, life isn't worth living.
While having only read two other works by Denise Rossetti, I've come to expect some lusciously tortured heroes but I thought that Erik, although cursed, wasn't quite as tortured as I would have liked. I sympathized with him, his moral dilemma, and the fact that once compelled, he could never again trust the feelings of that person. Did they love him because he commanded it? Or did they truly love him?
I also didn't fully understand why he was gifted with the Voice. It's discovered, later in the novel (after much foreshadowing), that Erik is an air wizard, but it was also discovered that he was and could be an air wizard without the Voice. So why did he even have the Voice in the first place? It wasn't used to secure Prue's attention or love, she gave that freely. He also didn't use it to save the Leaf of Nobility nor even to save Prue. I think it could have been used more as a tool but instead it's just a side plot that in my opinion, wasn't fully explained. I suppose it could have been used as a test to find the right woman, the one that couldn't just be compelled to do Erik's bidding, meaning he had to work for the love he desired. If that was the case, I think it could have been conveyed in a much stronger manner.
With regards to Prue, I liked her. I understood her pain and how a past betrayal shaped her into a woman with a well guarded heart. Erik represented all that she detested in a man but he's also incredibly endearing. He works his way under her skin and into her heart with no small amount of resistance. Once there, Prue doesn't deny the fact that she's fallen in love which was what I was expecting and therefore left me very satisfied with the way Rossetti played out Prue's love for Erik. It read genuine.
I did miss the immediate eroticism that was played out to such perfection in THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW. The heat between Gray and Cenda was much more intense. Erik's and Prue's love retains a much slower and complicated burn but it never went super nova hot like TFATS and therefore became a slower read. At times I felt more interested in the over-reaching plot arch's rather than the main characters and unfortunately the novel didn't fully engage my interest until about three quarters of the way in.
However, I think Rossetti had the makings of a good story with the THIEF OF LIGHT and that The Four-Sided Pentacle universe is still as captivating as ever. Once again I was ensnared by the beauty Rossetti created with seeming ease, although I'm sure it was a labor of love. Colors exploded in my mind's eye and the landscape left me in absolute awe. Erik and Prue may not have been my favorite hero and heroine pairing but I'm still more than curious to discover who might be the witches or wizards that are gifted with water and earth and if good will win over evil.
Erik is attracted to the Garden of Nocturnal Delights business manager Pruella Takimori McGuire. She is a bottom line type of woman and not fantasy Magick lover. His efforts to win her love is frustrated by her ignoring the Voice as it has no effect though she conceals her attraction to Erik the person and not his Golden persona. However, Erik is soon in deep trouble when the Necromancer has evil plans to use the Golden Voice to devour the souls of the innocent.
This is an enjoyable romantic fantasy starring two likable lead characters and a sinister villain. The Golden one finds his charming seductive voice fails him with the woman he wants and who might be the one to bring him redemption. Besides his failure with Prue, he now has a kick butt evil necromancer determined to use his seductive skill to steal souls. Fans will take pleasure in Denise Rossetti's return to the realm of the Four-Sided Pentacle (see The Flame and the Shadow).