release date 10/1/2008
I am a fan of Rowena Cherry. No doubt about it. She's a stellar writer, and her worlds are incredibly intricate. Not to mention the fact that her Djinn Princes are mouth-wateringly hot and scrumptious.
I was lucky enough to be gifted an advance copy of KNIGHT'S FORK, book three in Rowena's Tigron/Djinn Princes. What a gift! It hasn't been long since I've read the first two novels in this series (FORCED MATE and INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL), though I read the novella more than a year ago (MATING NET). Still, I don't think this world would diminish, even if it had been years for all of them.
Like all the books in this series, the title is based on a chess move or situation. A "Knight's Fork" arises when an opponent's knight is faced with two of your pieces, and you must choose to save one, knowing that the danger still looms for the other. In short, it's the proverbial "rock and a hard place" situation.
For Prince Djarrhett, The Saurian Djinn, trouble comes from all sides.
He's taken a vow of chastity, in a large part due to his "unfortunate childhood accident of fate." Read that as a bout of human mumps leaving him a very virile and potent Djinn but incapable of experiencing the rut-rage. That is both a blessing and a curse to him, since it means he isn't dangerous, when a fertile Djinn woman is around, but it also means he can't experience the imprinting, which will make him crave the first female Djinn who is rut-rageous he scents.
He's pursued by the Queen Consort of the Volnoth, Electra-Djerroldina (Prince Tarrant-Arragon's older sister). Her pursuit isn't completely carnal, though. Electra was mated to the youngest Volnoth prince to seal an alliance between Tigron and Volnoth, a mating that was never expected to bring forth children. Who knew his father and older brothers would be killed off, leaving Viz-Igerd with the impossible task of impregnating the wife he loves? Electra has no wish to commit body-treason (adultery) with Rhett. All she wants is his semen to accomplish a pregnancy she might pass off as her beloved husband's...and perhaps prepare her reticent body to carry a child that Viz-Igerd would sire later.
He's on an impossible quest, namely proving his unstable half-brother Devoron has rut-raged on a full Djinn female on Earth, Demetra, who is believed dead.
He's temporary guardian and male role model to a spoiled and deceptively-innocuous half-Djinn prince (Thor-quentin, the younger of Tarrant-Arragon's nephews from his younger sister Martia-Djulia).
Oh, and let us not forget the devious Saurian Dragon (aka Rhett's father), who will do anything up to sacrificing his son to break the alliance between Tigron and Volnoth...and the "Wicked Tarrant-Arragon," who believes his older sister guilty of body-treason and sees only one way to save her life...
Okay...you MIGHT believe that I've told you the whole book. You'd be dead wrong. This is just where the book jumps off into an amazing array of plots within plots and reversals of fortune. Even when you think you know what's coming next, you never really do with Rowena's books, which is one of the reasons I adore her writing.
The characters are delightful, as always. Rhett is, by far, the most morally-centered and least foul-tempered of the Djinn princes, not a great surprise, since he can't rut-rage. Electra is a woman who is caught between two men that she deeply cares about, neither one of which she wishes to hurt. Even her pining husband, Vis-Igerd, is a delight to the senses. He's confused and angry, but all he really wants is what is best for Electra and his people, even if it doesn't feel right for him.
The world continues to grow and entrance. Rowena leaves the reader with just enough questions to make you want to preorder the next book in the series...NOW. There are still secrets that need uncovered, and discerning readers will be salivating for them.
I can't wait to find out who gets a story next. Will it be Devoron? It seems set up to facilitate that.
At any rate, this entire series wins a place on my keeper shelf. Kudos and two thumbs up to Rowena Cherry for a winning series!