Monday, November 27, 2006

A Sultan's Ransom

by Loreth Anne White

There comes a time in every reader’s life when they are lucky enough to witness the emergence of an author as a force in their field. I’ve always enjoyed Loreth’s books, but the Shadow Soldiers miniseries is beyond anything she’s written before. Full of taut emotions and heart-pounding adventure, A Sultan’s Ransom is more than a romance, it’s the story of two people coming to terms with the past and the emotional scars they carry with them. This book picks up where The Heart of a Mercenary left off, with the FDS hot on the trail of an antidote for the pathogen being used to poison the President of the United States. The ex-French Foreign Legion mercenaries must stop a powerful cabal from taking over the U.S. and in turn, the world markets. This time it’s Sheik Rafiq Zayed, who must return to his homeland of Haman to infiltrate the research compound and plant a bug in the computer of the scientist who created the pathogen. But things go wrong when she discovers him in the lab and he’s forced to take her with him. Believing that she’s totally involved in this scheme, he is surprised to find a woman of compassion and innocence who lights the fires of revolution in this exiles heart. Dr. Paige Sterling took up her parent’s research, creating viruses and antidotes as a preemptive strike against biological warfare and potential pandemics. Completely in the dark about her employer’s true mission, she is devastated to learn that she’s been nothing but a pawn in this game of intrigue and assassination. Everything that she ever believed about her life is stripped from her, leaving Rafiq as her only base of reality. But Rafiq is more than a mercenary; he’s a king in exile, a king whose people have awaited his return to free them from the tyranny of his half-brother. A king who must fulfill his destiny.

With The Heart of a Mercenary, Loreth Anne White painted a picture of the jungles of the Congo that breathed and pulsated on every page. In A Sultan’s Ransom, she introduces us to the sands of the Middle East, its beauty and torment, and a people yearning for freedom. Ms. White uses words as an artist uses a paint brush, each sentence adding nuance and emotion, so that the story comes alive before you. As I said before, you do more than read Loreth’s books, you feel them. The writing is tight, the landscape breathtaking and the romance thrilling. Once again, a 5 star book.



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