The third in the authors’ Arcana Ancien series (following Echo of Distant Thunder and Shadows of an African Sun), A Blanket of Bitter Frost finds ancient studies expert Graeme Shepherd teaching at a college in Philadelphia, having given up his talents in sorcery and living as a normal human. His lover Diana lives with him, and they’re soon joined by former lover and fellow sorcerer Peter Oberon.
The book operates under a simple premise: if people hide behind words, what would happen if our words fail us? Graeme slowly finds himself substituting inappropriate words in his classroom lectures, then in the words he hears others say, followed by written communication. He is trapped inside his head with no way of communicating other than through touch and tone?even charades. In losing his words, he learns much more about Diana and Peter -- and himself -- than he would have otherwise.
Eventually, when it’s discovered that Graeme’s affliction is the result of dark magic?and that Peter is afflicted as well?the three go on a search for the spellcaster.
The characters are well developed, the plot tightly woven (although the nonsense words the guys use when their real words fail grow a little old after a while), and the premise interesting. I would categorize this as very mild erotica, with some ménage and m/m scenes.
Even readers who haven’t read the first two in the series will find A Blanket of Bitter Frost a quick, engaging read.
For Graeme Shepherd, words have always been important, be it complex spells or ancient, difficult to decipher texts. From sorcerer for hire to Ancient Studies professor, language and the ability to communicate have been his life.
But a mysterious ailment is slowly robbing him of the ability to express himself, every day bringing him closer to being locked away in his own head.
With his lovers Diana Glendower and Peter Oberon by his side, it becomes a race against the clock to find out what is turning a brilliant man into a gibbering idiot. When modern medicine fails to provide any answers, one avenue remains. Magic.
And the answer is more devastating than any of them could imagine.