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Friday, August 15, 2008

Knight's Fork

Knight's Fork by Rowena Cherry
Publisher: Dorchester
Genre: SciFi/Fantasy
Length: Full
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The Queen Consort of the Volnoth needs a sperm donor, and only one green-eyed god has the right stuff. Little does she know she has pinned all her hopes on the crown jewels of the fabled Royal Saurian Djinn. Not only is he the son of her greatest enemy, but he has taken a vow of chastity.

The Saurian Knight is caught between a problem father who has all the moral integrity of a Mafia Don, and a married Princess who would stop at nothing to have his seed in her belly. No matter which way he turns, he’s “forked.”

Taking the wrong lover…in the wrong place, at the wrong time…is dangerous. And when the High and Mighty intervene, it can be fatal. Can true love and a pure White Knight’s virtue triumph, when society loves a right royal scandal?

Knight’s Fork enjoys the benefit of being the culmination of a well thought out bit of world building-- complex, entertaining and peopled with interconnected characters dancing amongst fascinating political plays. The story is a homecoming of sorts with all the characters from the previous books coming to lend a hand to a great shift of personal destiny and political power. I would highly recommend to readers that they read Forced Mate and (my favorite in the series before reading Knight’s Fork) Insufficient Mating Material.

Ms. Cherry’s capacity to write complicated plots full of intrigue and stories populated with characters rich in personality and foibles make her books a delight to read. She also has a way of turning a phrase that hooks you and never lets go, such as Carpe Scrotum, Seize Life by the Testicles. How can you not love Rowena Cherry?

Knight’s Fork, which I believe to be the final book of the series, focuses on the much neglected Prince Djarrhett a/k/a ‘Rhett and Electra – Djerroldina. They have to be two of the most mismatched characters and yet they are perfect for each other. Too bad they don’t know it.

Rhett is being pressured by his dad to go into the family business, manipulated by his other family members to divert attention to this or that; basically it seems that Rhett is at the whims of the fates, the cards and by his loving, conniving but well-meaning grandmother. Good thing Rhett is savvy, clever in his own right, a wiz with a rapier and totally side-swiped by one Queen Electra.

Electra is also under pressure. She has to produce an heir for her husband and believe it or not, he’s from another species. Cool concept and very realistic given the science we know here on earth of two separate species being unable to reproduce. I’m glad we have the ways we have in our medical communities to help women who want to become mothers. If we had to jump through the hoops Electra’s had to endure, I’d pull my hair out while screaming and running for the hills. But she can’t, she‘s a queen and she is stuck.

And the plot thickens. I’m glad Ms. Cherry kept Grievous. He cracks me up. He’s from Earth and his perspective is totally unique to this universe and refreshing. He is Tarrant-Arragon’s aide and he was ‘leant’ to Rhett to help in a certain dilemma. Tarrant and Grievous come from the first cool story, Forced Mate, and Tarrant is now related to Rhett through marriage. I can’t divulge any more otherwise I’d be off on a totally different tangent. Like I said, this world is huge, lush with details and vivid in characterization.

Ms. Cherry is also quite funny. When Electra has a misunderstanding about Levi’s, it totally gave me the giggles. You see, Rhett grew up on Earth so he has a different way of referring to things or he references items from Earth in conversation which totally perplexes and confuses Electra.

I could not imagine how the main plot conflict could possibly be resolved. Electra is married and Rhett, as sexy and irresistible as he is, will not act on his desires – so what if he’s walking around totally frustrated? The sexual tension throughout this story keeps you on the edge. The revelation of one of Rhett’s secrets makes his decisions all the more amazing. He is a man to respect and sigh over. Let me assure you though that this is romance at its most tantalizing. There is a happily ever after that is well earned by the hero and heroine. The reader who inhales page after page hoping and wishing that Rhett would finally get it on with Electra should be very satisfied with the ending.

There are more characters and events I could wax poetic over that are woven in and around the romance of Rhett and Electra, but this review would end up as a small book in and of itself. Suffice to say, Knight’s Fork has substance, intelligence, characters I really cared for and is a romantic tale with a satisfying HEA. I may not know much about chess but I know a good book when I read one and Knight’s Fork delivers the goods.