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Monday, January 2, 2012

Night of the Fox by Ashley J Barnard

Night of the Fox by Ashley J Barnard
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (210 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Jared Dunefaellan, Captain of the king’s standing army, has managed to carve out a name for himself. After several victories, he is feared and respected, and is about to reclaim Wiekken’s most prized city, Lleweyan. But he is running out of time; already his genetic disease is maturing, changing him into the hateful man his father became. Before he can win the war, however, he’ll have to first conquer his addictions of alcoholism, sexual dysfunction and extremely distracting feelings for his best friend. In the meantime, Tarika is being forced to wed a tyrant, and Nathaniel reveals a shocking secret that throws their world into chaos. Everything comes to a head on a pirate ship of all things, and the prophecies surrounding Jared and Tarika play out in surprising, and occasionally disastrous, ways.

Demons, wars and relationship tangles form the basis of this book. Set in an age when wars are fought with swords from horseback, two countries try to overcome each other in battle. Love tangles unravel then become entangled again.

Jared fights for the Wiekkenians against their enemy - the Danarsic army. There are many women in his life but the one he loves is Tarika the King's illegitimate daughter. She loves Jared but also loves Nathaniel who returns her love. Other women appear in Jared's life but every day he has to fight the demon within.

He leads his army through thick and thin, always aware of his demon and afraid it is becoming stronger. The story is filled with intrigue, treason and betrayal, both in love and in the war.

Temptation appears in many forms for Jared. He is enamored of Seline, leader of the Danarsic army. Tarika holds his affection but this does not stop him taking other women to his bed.

In the Prologue, Jared suggests it would be best to read the previous books before starting this one. This option was not open to me but I assumed it would be like previous series I'd read - confusing at first but becoming clear the further I got into the book.

At first this appeared to be the case, but parts of the background of the characters were still a mystery by the time I reached the end of the book. This spoilt my enjoyment as I had no idea of the reasons for some references. For example no explanation was given for why Jared kept mentioning London and Earth when the inference was he'd been born and brought up on this planet.

Night of the Fox is not a light read. It has depth not usually found in romances. Although I found parts of the book confusing, I did enjoy reading it. The depth of the characters in this part of their lives was well written, making me feel their pain, their love and their reactions to others around them. On the whole a good story but you definitely need to read the previous two books before you embark on this one.