Review of SPELL OF THE HIGHLANDER by Karen Marie Moning (see her website)
Delacourt Press, August 2005
Archeology graduate student Jessi St. James has an already full life with a research job, classes, and teaching. But when her advisor has an accident and asks her to receive a package for him, she can't exactly turn him down--even if she doesn't have time. The package turns out to be a strange mirror--with an eleven-hundred-year-old highlander druid/magician locked inside. The man who's owned that mirror for the last thousand years, the man who locked the highlander in the mirror, is desperate to recover it--and to make sure no one who saw the mirror survives.
Cian MacKeltar recognizes the attraction he feels for the sexy Jessi, but knows it can go nowhere. With all of the sins he's committed, he has only one goal from life--to keep the mirror, and its power, from Dark Magician Lucan Myrddin Trevayne for three weeks. At the end of that time, the magic will be undone and Lucan will die. But Lucan has assassins, dark magic, and the power of unseelie artifacts at his disposal. Better than a thousand years of magic have taught him to be ruthless--and to be cunning.
On the run from assassins, Jessi and Cian can think of little but the attraction that flows between them. That his mind control does not affect Jessi only makes her more attractive to Cian. But although Jessi has cast the spell to release Cian from the mirror, the effect is only temporary. The mirror calls him back--and will continue doing so (often at inconvenient times) until the spell is finally broken.
Author Karen Marie Moning (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Moning) writes a highly sensuous tale with the powerful and primative highlander, Cian MacKeltar taking center stage. Other members of the McKeltar clan, also brought up to the present from the distant past return from earlier books in the series, giving fans a treat as they see the familiar characters moving forward with their lives. A few minor inconsistencies--especially the repeated reference to Cian as the ancestor of the other MacKeltars (he wasn't married in the 9th century and presumably didn't raise bastards to be heirs so he wouldn't have been their ancestor, just a some number of greats uncle) distract, but not enough to spoil the story's enjoyment.
Fans of alpha male highlanders, loaded with muscle and magic, will definitely want to add SPELL OF THE HIGHLANDER to their reading list.
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