Aisling: Guardian by Carole Cummings

by Cryselle @ Cryselle's Bookshelf

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Aisling (Book One: Guardian) Constable Dallin Brayden knows who he is, what he's about, and he doesn't believe in Fate. 'Wilfred Calder' has no idea who he is, what he's about, and has been running from Fate for as long as he can remember. When Wil is brought in for questioning as a witness to a brutal murder, and subsequently flees, Dallin is dragged by duty into the chaos of ancient myth, fanatical religion, and the delicate politics of a shaky truce between two perpetually warring countries, all of which seem to hinge on the slender shoulders of the man he knows is not Wilfred Calder.

The eventual capture of Dallinís quarry only makes matters worse. Wil is prickly and full of rage, rebellious and lethal, and tells an unbelievable tale of magic and betrayal that threatens to rock the carefully cultivated foundations of Dallin's world. Leery and only half-believing, Dallin finds himself questioning not only his own conscience and his half-forgotten past, but the morality and motives of everyone around him, including those who hold the power of his own countryís fate in their hands.


This story pulled me in from the very first scenes Ė while itís a long story for an ebook, I didnít feel overwhelmed. This is book one of a trilogy, and thatís good news for me, because I am now a big fan!

Nothing quite goes as you think it will Ė who is the bad one here, what secrets are being hidden, what variety of awful thing will happen next (there are a lot of them) all veer just a little from expected, and I can really sympathize with Dallin, who has to sort it all out, and with Wil, who has to figure out who to trust. The biggest answer to that will be in future books, but there are a ton of immediate problems to fix, too. Not least of which is Ė how can you be a successful fugitive when your opponent can track you with supernatural means if you slip up, and when heís willing to be completely ruthless?

I loved the world Ė it feels like England from before the industrial revolution Ė itís whatís in peopleís heads where the biggest differences are. And yet Ė not so different Ė honor and evil and how to figure out which is which before it kills you, thatís recognizable, and told very well.

In one way I was a little disappointed that the sexual interest between the two is so very downplayed (read, a couple sideways glances and NO Touching!), but Wil is so very broken in some ways that to approach him would be a terrible betrayal of trust, so Iím just going to have to adjust my expectations. I just read a really good fantasy novel where the main characters happen to be gay.

5 marbles

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