Shield Dunleavy Mallorough, also known as Lee and Source Shintaro Karish better known as Taro are on their way to Flown Raven, ancestral home of the duchy of Westsea and Taro’s family.
Shields and Sources work together to divert natural disasters. The Sources channel the disaster’s energy while the Shield protects the Source’s mind and body. If the Shield fails, the Source will die. Most Sources and Shields are bonded to their partner. If one dies, they both die. However, the Source and Shield Counsel discourages any other type of relationship within the bond. They also don’t send pairs to their family homes.
Lee and Taro know that they shouldn’t be sent to Westsea. However, the council didn’t send them, the Emperor exceeded his authority and sent them. Neither wants to go but they have no choice. Taro’s mother still lives there and she is livid that Taro did not take over the duchy but instead gave it to a cousin.
Along their trip, they are robbed. Taro’s cousin, Fiona though makes them welcome into her home. Lila, a maid, is assigned to them but it seems like Lila has other motives. Taro’s mother has brought a titled woman to make a possible match with Taro, even though he has told her that he is not marrying nor is he taking back the duchy. Fiona has found an old book, possibly from the First Landing and has called in a noted academic.
But on top of all the other things going on is an even more disturbing development. Taro and Lee aren’t able to contain the deadly earthquakes that are plaguing Westsea. Perhaps the magical spells Lee has found will help but the Emperor has sent guards to flog anyone seen with any magical anything!
This is the 5th book in a series about Lee and Taro’s adventures. While you probably don’t have to read the previous books to enjoy this one, many of their previous adventures are mentioned in this book. I haven’t read all of the previous books and I’ve enjoyed the last two books.
Though Lee and Taro are more than a bonded pair, this is not a romance but a fantasy adventure story. Seldom do Lee and Taro get to do more than share a few kisses though the council isn’t happy they are even doing that. Instead, you are thrown into a dangerous world full of intrigue, power struggles and hidden magic. There are life and death struggles and bending of rules to avoid detection. Lee and Taro may have found time to do other things but they aren’t sharing.
The characters and the world are wonderful. There is a complex set of rules in place that govern all of the residents. The Emperor has laws that control what he can do. The Source and Shield Council is outside his governing power yet he’s trying to influence where a certain pair goes. He’s also pushing his titled landholders as far as he can. Because this is Taro’s birth place, you get to know a lot of his family. His interactions with them are very telling as are Lee’s reactions to them.
I really love this series and can’t wait to read the next book in it. Each book builds on the last but gives a new adventure that is separate. Lee and Taro continue to develop and evolve which give them more interest. The world they live in is building up to a possible rebellion or at least a power struggle over the Sources and Shields. What happens next is anyone’s guess but with magic making a come back and outlawed, whatever it is will be interesting to say the least!
Being a hero is a recession-proof job-from the author of Heroes at Risk.
The Emperor has personally selected Shield Lee Mallorough and Source Shintaro Karish to protect the duchy of Westsea-Taro's ancestral lands. But Westsea is suffering from deadly earthquakes that resist Lee and Taro's magic and political unrest that is stoked by their arrival.