Hordes of darkness, led by the supernaturally empowered Ladon, overrun the kingdom of Gadiel. A gravely wounded Prince Vartan is secreted from the conquered city of Astara by his sister Zigiri and beautiful servant girl Danae. Zigiri is convinced that Vartan is the Creator's promised Guardian—the Giver of Roses.

No one in Gadiel or the surrounding enemy lands will believe such a thing, much less Vartan himself. But unless he arises from crippling defeat and physical affliction to unite the kingdoms, evil may have the last laugh. Danae seems to be the key to helping Vartan replace faith in himself with faith in Athan, the Creator. But one of the sacrifices necessary on the road to victory may be their love for each other.

Using familiar fantasy characters—men, elves, dwarves, dragons and their riders—Morgan creates a world with parallels to our own. Medieval and adventure fiction fans new to the fantasy genre may find this to their taste. Her characters are winsome and well-drawn, and the plot swift and clean. (Aug., 448 pp., $13.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill Elizabeth Nelson