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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dragul Rising by Marie Treanor

Dragul Rising (Collection)by Marie Treanor
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, Anthology
Length: Full Length (232 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Holly

The Dragul are as old as the Earth. Once, they retreated before the ignorant onslaught of men. Now they're back.

As the world recovers from nuclear holocaust, two cities vie for the right to colonize the empty Highlands. Beth, a restless scientist from the City of the Damned, is sent to test the environment. When she encounters the living embodiment of her erotic dreams -- a golden winged man -- her whole life is thrown into confusion.

As the secret of the Dragul emerges, the half-human vampire Michael takes time out of his mission to their kingdom to rescue Danna, the beautiful shapeshifting Dragon Dancer. Attraction between them is so powerful that Danna begins to believe he is her One -- which would be an unthinkable tragedy when he is already bound to another woman.

Eve, beautiful, clever, visionary, leads a delegation from the human Dome City. She is used to succeeding, but she has never before encountered an opponent like the King of the Dragul. Dark, brooding and overwhelmingly powerful, King Vasil walks a lonely path, dedicated to serving and caring for his people. He is happy to battle Eve with wits, sex and ultimately love, for a prize that turns out to be larger than anyone had previously imagined.

Nothing will ever be the same.

The Dragul: an ancient race, older than mankind. A beautiful people, winged and able to shift to dragons and other creatures at will. When man began to populate, and then overpopulate, the Earth, the Dragul chose to leave the surface for the darkness underground. After a nuclear holocaust has decimated the world, a small band of rebels decide they can no longer survive below in darkness, and leave for the surface. Now, they have been discovered by some of the survivors from the two factions vying for control of the empty Highlands. Dragul Rising is a collection of three short, but hot, love stories about the interaction between the Dragul surface dwellers and those from the Dome and the City of the Damned.

Dragul Dawn is a story of discovery. Beth, half vampire, half werewolf goes to the deserted lands along with Niall, a representative from the Dome in search of land able to be farmed. What she gets on her expedition is much more than she bargains for, when she encounters Aurel, a winged man who has haunted her dreams. This is the story of the revelation of the Dragul to the City of the Damned and the Dome. A love story, with danger, intrigue and passion.

Dragul in Daylight is a story of revelation and desire. Michael is a representative from the City of the Damned on a mission to the Dragul kingdom when he rescues the lovely Danna, the Dragon Dancer from attack by Dome residents. The mission is to determine if there can be interaction and peaceful coexistence between the Dragul and those from the two cities. But the Dome has plans of their own, plans that don’t include cooperation at all.

Dragul In Darkness is the culmination of the three stories. The Dome negotiator is Eve, Beth’s friend, and Michael’s former love. The delegates from both the City of the Damned and the Dome are introduced to King Vasil, leader of the surface dwelling Dragul. The palace intrigue has escalated, and Eve feels inexorably drawn to the King. When secrets are revealed, and families reunited, the result is more than hoped for.

Marie Treanor touched me with these stories in ways I wasn’t prepared for. I loved the character development, which was consistent through all three stories. Our heroines, Beth, Danna and Eve are all strong women in their own right. Beth is a scientist, underestimated by her Dome counterparts. She is intelligent and compassionate, and willing to give up any recognition that could be forthcoming in order to preserve the Dragul way of life. Danna is the lovely Dragon Dancer, appearing fragile and lovely, but, in truth, more than capable of handling herself when she becomes the dragon inside. Eve is intelligent, capable, and is one of the few “mutants” with any position in the Dome. She is part werewolf, and psychic, and lonely. These are well-drawn and complex characters, and I enjoyed their stories immensely.

Aurel is the golden winged man from Beth’s dreams, but so much more than that. He is Keeper of the Laws for the Dragul, honorable, strong and sexy beyond all reason. Michael is a lawman in the City of the Damned, and as a half-breed, he wants to forge an alliance with these beings. He is the epitome of tall, dark and sexy, and determined to prevent any unfair advantage the Dome may seek. King Vasil is the dark brooding hero, carrying the weight of the kingdom on his shoulders, with secrets and guilt enough for several men. These are the men our heroines choose, and they are strong and worthy of the love that is given.

I loved the world of the Dragul that Marie Treanor created. It is a beautiful world, with passion, intrigue and danger. But there is also a sense of hope and revelation in this world of rebirth and discovery. I loved the twists and surprises, and several times I was brought to tears by the sheer beauty of the story. Of course, it wouldn’t be Marie Treanor without lots of volcanically hot sex and passionate unions of soul mates. I recommend this collection for those who like intrigue, passion and a surprise ending that you won’t expect. But keep the ice water and the tissues within reach, because you will need them.

1 comment:

Marie Treanor said...

Many thanks for the wonderful review, Holly! You've made my weekend early :) I'm really touched that you enjoyed the book so much.