Review of THE DARK HIGHLANDER by Karen Marie Moning (see her website)
Dell, October 2002
Dageus MacKeltar is a 16th century highlander now living in New York and haunted by the souls of thirteen evil druids. When Dageus violated the compact between Keltar and the Tuatha De (god/fairy creatures from Celtic legend), the druids vanished thousands of years ago gained partial freedom--in Dageus's mind. Each time he works his magic, they grow stronger. Soon, they will take over his body and plunge the world into chaos. Dageus has vowed to hold them off and continually researches ancient Celtic knowledge for a hint of the means by which he can regain his freedom.
Chloe Zanders is a museum curator with one of the documents Dageus wants. When she enters his penthouse, she is attracted to the perfectly preserved ancient artifacts that litter it. The two are instantly attracted by Chloe is a virgin and promises herself that she won't be just another notch on Dageus's bedpost.
Author Karen Marie Moning (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Moning) writes convincingly of Dageus's rapid descent into darkness--a descent that can be slowed but not stopped by the frequent sex that Chloe is denying him. A time travel segment puts the two characters back into medieval Scotland, letting the reader enjoy a reunion between Dageus and his father. Moning's action sequences are exciting and convincing.
Dageus is a powerful character who, in this reviewer's opinion, deserves more than Chloe whose major claim to fame seems to be her application of the 'rules' in denying sex until she gets a commitment. Other than the obvious physical chemistry, it's hard to see why Dageus choses her as his unique woman. Admittedly the story is about magic, but the heroine should contribute more to the story than Chloe does.
I'd be interested in other writer's opinions, but I also thought that the solution to Dageus's dilemna was a bit deus ex machina (literally).
Flaws aside, Karen Marie Moning delivers hot sex, exciting action, and a hero to die for. A pretty strong combination.
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