Tuesday, August 16, 2011
On Azrael's Wings by D. Jordan Redhawk
Publisher: P. D. Publishing
D. Jordan Redhawk's book On Azrael's Wings follows in the vein she is known for, a story with some historical reference and some fantasy worked in.
In Middle Eastern theology, Azrael is the angel of death. How appropriate that this is the name of General Azrael of the Third Army. She is the enforcer for her brother, King Shonal, and she does it with brutal efficiency. When she is sent on a mission to destroy a village of dissidents, she does a thorough job. However, Azrael does have a code of honor and she expects her troops to adhere to it, so when she finds three soldiers trying to rape a woman, her punishment is swift and deadly.
As a slave, Ursula understands that she has no value, which is why she is surprised when Azrael not only saves her, but takes her as a body slave. What starts out as a relationship based on fear grows into one of mutual trust and Ursula discovers the woman who lives behind the hard façade is more complex than her legend represents. For her part, Azrael can't understand the feelings she has for Ursula, but she knows they can be dangerous for both of them. Her society doesn't tolerate the idea of royalty and slaves mixing, but she can't deny her growing feelings for Ursula. Azrael also learns she has a problem when rumors reach her that her brother doesn't trust her and suspects she wants his throne. Azrael would like to retire to her estates and enjoy life there with Ursula, but things come to a head when King Shonal seizes Ursula and claims her as his property. Azrael has to decide which comes first: loyalty to duty or loyalty to love.
On Azrael's Wings is not true history, but it has the feel of a story about times in early Europe or Asia. The fantasy comes from the idea that an army in that time would accept a woman general to lead it, but it works in the book. The story flows well and is an entertaining romance with a little adventure thrown in. It would have easily made one of the old swashbuckling stories from 1930's movies, except that both stars would be women. The characters are well developed, not complex, but likeable. This book isn’t a bad way to spend a few hours.