"King of the fae Dark Court meets his match in his savior surgeon"
Reviewed by Make Kay
Posted October 15, 2018
Romance Paranormal | Fantasy
Book 3 in the Moonshadow
trilogy set in the Elder Races world, LIONHEART delivers
Thea Harrison's characteristically superlative world
building as well as a dreamy romance. This spin-off
paranormal romance continues to focus on the fae and Wyr of
Great Britain. This can be read as a standalone, although
many of the same characters from MOONSHADOW,(book
1) and SPELLBINDER
(book 2) continue to be front and center here. We have the
evil Isabeau, Queen of the Light Court. We continue to learn
more about dear Robin, a puck tortured by Isabeau for
centuries. And finally, we get the story of Oberon, King of
the fae Dark Court. I love this imaging of characters I have
seen in so many other works like Morgan Le Fay of Arthurian
fame and also the Seelie Court. The fae are an endlessly
fascinating topic for me.
Oberon used to be a well-loved and caring king of his Dark
Court. But Queen Isabeau from the competing fae court sent
her number one assassin to attack Oberon, and Oberon was
slowly leached of his humanity (fae-manity?!), slowly
becoming cold and dangerous. He was forced to put himself in
stasis so as to not die from the slowly-acting spell he was
attacked with. Dr. Kathryn Shaw is a Wyr, an Elder Race
supernatural being who can change into a falcon. She's a
highly skilled trauma surgeon and magical healer, and she's
so capable-I love her! She is hired to leave Dragos'
demesne in New York (I haven't mentioned yet how much I
miss Dragos, my favorite Harrison character, so let me just
get that out here) in order to cure Oberon before he
unwittingly kills everything in his kingdom while in stasis.
Kathryn is so awesome. As a surgeon, a highly competent
woman able to deal with incredibly stressful situations, she
is able to stand toe to toe with the dominant Oberon. I
adore how Harrison has made her assertive but not
overbearing. She's the perfect mate for Oberon, even though
she' s a bird of prey and Oberon's Wyr form is a lion.
Much of the early tension in the story is Kathryn and Oberon
butting heads, but quickly they must team up to deal with
Harrison's world-building always shines. Her nuanced
characters are people I would want to have at my back in a
fight, and would want to hang out with as friends too. So
many of Harrison's characters endure arcs of redemption,
like Oberon here, and come out the other side as perfectly
lovely individuals that I cheer for. The romance and fantasy
of Harrison's LIONHEART set against the backdrop of this
alternate fae world of King Arthur's Avalon engross me
King Oberon reigned over his Dark Court in Lyonesse for
centuries, until an assassination attempt laid him low.
Now he lies unconscious in his snow-bound palace, while
his Power battles the enchantment that threatens to end
A skilled trauma surgeon and magic-user, Dr. Kathryn Shaw
reigns at the top of her profession in New York. Then
comes a challenge she canâ€™t resistâ€”she is asked to cure
the uncureable. Just getting close enough to try healing
Oberon is a dangerous proposition. When she does reach
him, he awakens too soon.
Roused from darkness by Kathrynâ€™s presence, Oberon
confronts the beautiful stranger who claims she wants to
save his life. But the enchantment has frozen his
emotions. How can he learn to trust her when he canâ€™t feel
Oberonâ€™s desire is icy, devoid of all tenderness. Not only
must Kathryn match wits with him, she must also fight her
reaction to his touch, because there is so much more at
stake than her own endangered heart.
For the Dark Court faces its most deadly peril yet. Its
ancient enemy Isabeau, Queen of the Light Court, is
obsessed with its annihilation, and Oberon must be brought
to remember his loyalty and affection for his people.
Because if he wonâ€™t fight for them, Lyonesse itself may
very well be destroyedâ€¦
The attack happened at one of those bloody masques King
Oberon and his Dark Court had once been so fond of hosting.
Those of the Elder Racesâ€”along with a select few humans
chosen for their Power and political influenceâ€”traveled
from around the world to attend Oberonâ€™s masques, and all
England knew that whatever the weather, snow always fell in
the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens on the winter solstice.
The guests were treated to a lavish array of exotic foods
and mulled wine, magic, and mystery, all served by
attendants dressed in spotless, intricately embroidered
white uniforms. Intrigues always occurred along with
intimate conversations amid the entertainment. Illicit
affairs were pursued in the shadows. Treaties were born and
sometimes broken, and there was always the opportunity to
forge new alliances.
But mostly the annual festival was Oberonâ€™s way of saying
fuck you to his greatest enemy, Isabeau and her Light
Court. The richness of the revelry, the contrived excessâ€”it
all said, we dance in spite of you. We thrive.
Until at one masque, Oberon stood watching a swirl of
costumed dancers. As he cast a silent spell, large flakes
of clear ice drifted down from a cloudless midnight sky as
if the frozen stars themselves fell to earth.
The flakes reflected pagan color from nearby bonfires until
the air glittered with brilliant gold and piercing light.
All dancers came to a halt, and everyone stared upward in
awe while fey music raced through the clearing at a hectic
Laughter broke out along with applause, even among the most
Powerful and jaded of the guests. Oberon smiled to see one
pretty Vampyre reaching up with a slender white hand to
catch a flake. She stared, eyes wide with wonder as the
glittering ice melted in her fingers.
A sharp sting pierced Oberonâ€™s neck along with a sense of
alien magic. It broke his concentration, and the weather
His reactions were swift and catlike, but even as he
slapped one gloved hand over the spot and focused fiercely
on it, the brief pain faded. He spun around, his gaze
racing over the crowd.
It had been an attack. He had no doubt.
His gaze fell on one individual, a tall, handsome man in
elegant evening attire, wearing a plain black domino. The
man held a hollow reed between the fingers of one gloved
His direct hazel gaze met Oberonâ€™s. â€śI have killed you on
the orders of the Light Fae Queen, and I must say I am
sorry for it.â€ť
Oberonâ€™s lips drew back in a snarl. A roar burst from his
throat as he lunged forward to slaughter the transgressor.
Even as he sprang forward, an intense wave of dizziness
struck him down.
Sharp voices soared overhead like the raw screech of
hunting hawks. He recognized Nikolas and Gawain even as he
turned his focus inward again, searching for that deadly
thread of alien magic.
There it was, the enemy that had invaded his body. The
magic wriggled deeper, seeking to enter his bloodstream.
Where it touched, coldness spread.
Panicked hands gripped his arms, and another, more feral
voice intruded upon his awareness: Robin. â€śSire, what
â€śAssassins,â€ť he managed to hiss.
He did not need to say more. His knights roared through the
milling crowd, cutting short the festivities with drawn
swords. Trusting them to do their jobs, he closed his eyes
and concentrated everything on stopping the malicious spell
from completing its work.
Time passed while he tried spell after spell to counteract
the attack. The masque ended early, and everyone went home.
Over the next few weeks his knights roamed the streets of
London, hunting the Light Queenâ€™s Hound, Morgan le Fae, for
that was who the assassin had been. They never located the
sorcerer. He had simply vanished, apparently into thin air.
Oberon retreated to the country, then eventually back to
Lyonesse, where he continued to search for ways to
eradicate the magic that attacked him from within. Some
spells seemed to work, at least temporarily, and for a
while the progress of the magic halted.
He gained a measure of respite
Weeks, months. Even years.
But each time, after a period of stasis, the bastard evil
that invaded his body reawakened and burrowed deeper,
always aiming for his heart.
It caused undeniable damage. He could feel himself
changing. The closer the magic came to his heart, the
colder he grew. Colder in his thinking, in his emotions. He
grew crueler, more calculating.
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