DEVOTED is a remarkable achievement; a debut novel by a master craftswoman. Though Alice Borchardt is Anne Rice's sister she does not write about the paranormal outcasts of society (vampires, witches etc.) but about all too human outcasts who strive to find a valiant peace in a violent land.Sweeping, lyrical and oftentimes violent (yet authentically so), DEVOTED merges the magic and mystical with the real and romantic, bringing readers a marvelous story of bravery, courage and passion. Alice Borchardt has her own unique voice that lures readers into her story, grabs their hearts and never lets go.

This is a time when the land is seething with torment, changing from the druid style religious culture of the Forest People to Christianity, while the people are at constant war with Viking invaders.

When Owen, the young bishop of Chantalon, rescues Elin from the Vikings he discovers that she is trained in the old ways and presents him with a great temptation - one he cannot deny.

Compelled to wed, Elin becomes Owen's lady and she is proud and pleased to be his wife-loving him beyond all else and planning to help him rebuild Chantalon. However, there is little peace for the newlyweds when the Vikings attack Chantalon, taking Owen captive.

Elin must now take charge and bring order to her home, fight off the marauders and find a way to save her husband and their life together.

(Sept., 467 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin