Heart of Light is based in the Victorian British Empire. However, this Empire has magical abilities. In Europe, thanks to Charlemagne, the noble houses have some degree of magical ability. In the rest of the world most people have at least a small amount of magical ability but not enough to do anything major. The reason behind this is a ruby that was found by a servant of Charlemagne. This ruby allowed Charlemagne to cast a spell giving magic to certain people, the nobles. However, the servant was not able to get another ruby that was also there. The other ruby has the power to make the holder the ruler of the world! Queen Victoria wants that ruby to ensure the continuation of the British Empire. This ruby is located somewhere in Africa and she has already sent the oldest Oldhall son, Carew. Now, she is sending the younger, weaker one with his new bride.
Nigel Oldhall is not at all sure that he will be able to find the ruby for the queen. His magic isn't as strong as his brother's magic. He has always been a sickly person and doesn't have much confidence in himself. However, he does have a strong commitment to duty and will give it his best effort.
Emily, Nigel's new bride, knows nothing of a mission. As far as she knows, they are going on their honeymoon trip to see the sites of Egypt. Locked inside of her is a lot of magical power. Emily is unable to release it to use it. Doctor's have told her that once she is married, the closeness of her husband should release it. However, Nigel doesn't seem to be able to consummate their marriage.
Traveling with them to Egypt, on the same magic carpet ship, is Nassira. Nassira is a Black woman from the Masai tribe. She was sent by a secret African organization call the Hyena Men to England to spy. Now, she has returned to Africa to tell them what she knows and help stop Nigel.
Her contact is Kitwana. He is from a small village near the Zulu's. His father is a priest and he has more magic than most Africans.
At the hotel in Cairo, Emily and Nigel meet up with Nigel's old school chum, Peter who decides to come along with them as they travel around Africa.
I'm not sure how to review this book. I found this saga started so extremely bad that I had no desire to continue reading but then, in the last 100 to 150 pages or so, the story came to life. The problem is, this book has a little over 500 pages. Readers aren't even introduced to all the main characters in the story until around page 100!
If you can think of every stereotype of Victorian England that you can, you will find all of them making an appearance in this book. I have never been so bored in my life. Poor Emily is sent to her room like the child Nigel knows women are and she goes! Emily sure that the reason Nigel has not consummated their marriage is because he has a true love elsewhere searches his luggage for a token of that love because she knows he would not go anywhere without it. Even while crossing Africa, Nigel and Emily sleep in separate tents as is proper for upper class Englishmen. Oh, and least I forget that they frequently address each other as Mr. Oldhall and Mrs. Oldhall. Ms Hoyt makes sure the reader doesn't forget that this story is based in the Victorian era with all the stereotypes!
And of course one of the biggest beliefs for Englishmen was that it was their duty to take over and educate the lesser countries and peoples of the world. After all, England had the highest standards and the best of everything and the inferior peoples of Africa should be grateful to the Queen for being willing to share her bounty.
If that wasn't enough social propaganda, the Hyena Men have their own. Instead of being presented as an underground resistance movement, they are presented as having their own social agenda for all of Africa. Supposedly the Hyena Men are made up of tribes from all over Africa. They are fighting to make an Africa based on the European model. In o