Warrior by Zoe Archer (The Blades of The Rose #1)
Paranormal Historical Romance
September 1, 2010
Paperback, 370 Pages
Reviewed by Mandi
I have been drooling over all four covers of Zoe Archer’s Blades of The Rose series for some months now, and was so excited to finally sit down with book one, Warrior, and see if Mr. sexy man on the cover could live up to his image. What I discovered is a rough and tough hero but a heroine, I loved even more.
Captain Gabriel Huntely is at a loss with what to do with his life. He should settle down with a steady job and find a wife and start a family. But now back on British land after fifteen years away, he really doesn’t know what to do with himself. But soon the enticement of adventure will pull him away.
He comes across Anthony Morris, fighting off a group of men. Eager for a fight, Gabriel jumps in. During the fight, Morris saves his life, only to suffer a mortal wound. As Morris lays dying, he begs Gabriel to deliver a message to his friend Franklin Burgess. But this message must be delivered in person, and Franklin is currently residing in Mongolia. Quite a journey for a stranger, but Gabriel feels like he owes this debt to Morris for saving his life, and that place in his heart that loves high adventure starts to beat a little louder.
What Gabriel doesn’t know is that he is about to deliver a message to a member of The Blades of The Rose, a very secret organization that has been around for a thousand years. The members of The Blades protect different Sources, ancient magical items, throughout the world. The Heirs of Albion, hunt these Sources, wanting to use the magic for evil and greed. When Gabriel meets up with Franklin and his daughter Thalia, they are suspicious and untrusting, until he produces a Blades compass and recites the first verse of the Blades oath, one Morris made him memorize, and both father and daughter then know, his message is legitimate.
Gabriel has no idea what this message means, but he is very curious. He is also very curious and attracted to the strong willed Thalia. The message carries warning that a Source in Mongolia is in trouble. Since Franklin has a broken leg, Thalia is the only one that can track it down. Although she is not an official Blade member, she has lived with her father enough to be privy to their secrets. Always ready to do right for The Blades, Thalia sets off, and refusing to be left out of the action, Gabriel follows close behind.
Warrior does not just present us with Gabriel, our fierce hero, but Thalia is very much a warrior herself. Zoe Archer writes such a strong, mature, independent heroine and I completely fell in love with her. She curses, and has been around men enough that gruesome tales, or sordid talk does nothing to fluster her. Gabriel, who swears and is very gruff, and extremely over-protective over his new love, likes this about her too:
“Thank you, for your bloodthirstiness on my behalf.”
“I’m not speaking tripe, Thalia,” he said. “I’d slowly kill that vodka-steeped bastard if it was possible. Stomach wounds are good. Takes a long time to die from them.”
She stared at him for a moment. “I believe you,” she said at last. “And, maybe it’s wrong to revel in your thirst for vengeance, but it’s a better gift than a bouquet of poesies.”
“You want his guts tied up with pretty ribbons, I’ll do it for you.”
“Such a lovely gift.”
Gabriel is at first flustered around a genteel English woman, but soon learns Thalia is more a fighter than a timid English host. She does not take orders, and would rather go head strong into a fight, then sit on the sidelines and cower. From the moment the lay eyes on each other, there is a spark of intense attraction. Being on horseback or camels most of the trip and surrounded by other men, makes it difficult for them to explore their attraction, but Zoe Archer gives them quick seclusions into shaded rocks, or a romp in a Ger for privacy. The romance is very hot and very intense and quite plentiful throughout the book. For as much as this book gives us adventure, we get many romance scenes to balance it out.
I also love that they both are stubborn, both very independent, yet they work well together. Gabriel is used to giving commands and people immediately going into action. His commands don’t work so well with Thalia, but they soon learn they need each other if this war is to be won. And hot sex when they have downtime, doesn’t hurt either.
He picked up her hands in his own and kissed the backs of each, but it wasn’t exactly gallant, not the way his golden eyes glinted with undisguised sexual hunger. For her.
“I like this very much,” he said, nibbling on the tips of her fingers. “An army of two.”
“Who’s in command?” she answered as she fought for breath.
What a wicked smile he had. “Let’s take turns.”
Zoe Archer lays the foundation with The Blades of The Rose, and it is really a fun premise discovering this group of men and women fighting the age old evil. We briefly meet some of the other members and they all have unique, differing personalities and I look forward to getting all of their stories. I thought there were a few slow spots in the beginning and middle of the book. And although I enjoyed Gabriel and his rough and gruff ways, I lost count at the number of times he “growls” in this story. But I adored his intense protectiveness over the strong-willed Thalia, and how selfless a hero he really is.
With a mix of adventure and romance, this series looks very promising.
This series includes:
Scoundrel – 10/5/10
Rebel – 11/2/10
Stranger – 12/7/10
Zoe Archer will be back later today for a chat!