Monday, September 25, 2017

Book Review: 'Rapture at Midnight' by Isobelle Cate

British author Isobelle Cate writes about the secret stories, the people and the nations - the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins. ‘Her vision and passion are fuelled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend. She is ‘intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.’

The Cynn Cruors are an order of immortal human/werewolf/vampire warriors and Isobelle has spanned now six books under the influence of this fascinating bloodline. This is Book 1 of the series set in Scotland and some of the characters’ dialogue will have a few words spelled according to the way the character speaks it.

The Prologue set in Pluscarden, Elgin, Scotland 1712 – ‘The branches whipped against their cloaks while moonlight streamed through the overhanging tree branches. The smell of the impending snowstorm was strong in the wind, as though it too was chasing them. The rider ahead of the small group looked back to see if her companions were still following. Finn rode between his parents. At eleven years old he could hold his own, keeping a tight rein on the spirited Arabian thoroughbred. His heart thundered in tandem with his horse's frantic gallop. His face jerked from left to right to avoid being whipped by low hanging boughs, but he knew from the stings and moisture he felt on his face, that they had already drawn blood. The freezing cold would numb the scrapes and welts soon. It didn't matter. His wounds would heal by the time they reached their destination. After all, he was a Cynn Cruor. Finn looked back. His father took the rear guard. He too glanced back from whence they came, making sure they weren't being followed. Finn faced front again. It was a good thing his mother had tied her brown tresses and placed them underneath the cowl of her cloak. At their breakneck speed, her hair could become entangled in the branches, whip her off her horse and snap her neck just like Absalom of the Bible. Finn closed his eyes for a moment as he forced the morbid thought away. How could things have changed so drastically in a matter of hours? Earlier that evening they had been having a wonderful post-Christmas supper. He had gone up to his room in the manor as his mother bade him to get a good night's sleep. His head had barely touched the pillow when his father entered his room to rouse him from bed… As the gates closed behind his parents, so did the gates lock around his heart. Finn wished he could cry out the anguish and desolation which lay claim to him, but no further tears dropped from his eyes, even though deep in his heart he knew he would never see his parents again.’’ She then jumps to present day for the story to ignite.

She plunges us into the torso of the tale: ‘She is the very essence of his immortal life. He is her soul. Finn Qualtrough, a Cynn Cruor warrior, is on a mission to find leader of the Scatha Cruors, Dac Valerian. When he pursues three Scatha warriors who can lead him to Dac, he discovers a woman who awakens a desire within Quinn to claim her as his own. Eirene Spence is an insomniac and a computer genius. Her penchant for midnight walks in the park puts her life in danger when the Scatha Cruors find her. She is saved when a handsome stranger rescues her. His touch ignites a hunger inside her that only he can satisfy. By a twist of fate, Eirene’s client is Dac Valerian. She can lead Finn--and the rest of the Cynn Cruors--to Dac’s lair. Now Dac wants her dead. Finn must fulfill his mission while trying to keep Eirene alive. With Valerian after Eirene, nothing is certain, not even her place in Finn’s life. There is a-growing war between the Cynn Cruors and the Scatha Cruors: two breeds of immortal warriors who carry human, vampire, and werewolf blood. The Cynn Cruors want to live in harmony with the human race. The Scatha Cruors wants to enslave them. It’s time to start preparing for battle....’ Few could summarize this fascinating tale as well.

Even those readers who are not usually attracted to paranormal novels and vampire stories will find much to embrace in this tale, primarily because of the author’s magic way with words – bringing us into the rarefied air of mythology and fantasy in the finest fashion. Solid reading, this. Grady Harp, April 17
This book is free on Kindle Unlimited.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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