The second installment of the Highland Guard series is outstanding. McCarty adroitly presents a well-written story replete with characters who are passionate and honorable and a backdrop that is rich in history and color. The depth of emotion and political intrigues make this a page-turner, not to be put down lightly.

Erik MacSorley, half Viking/half Scot, is an unrivaled sailor and soldier. His life changes when he rescues a drowning woman off the Irish coast. Lady Elyne de Burgh, daughter of a powerful Irish lord and ally of King Edward, keeps her identity secret from the Scotsman who is confounded by her seeming immunity to his charm. While Ellie is determined to remain uninterested in him, she gradually comes to feel respect and love for Erik. However, she fears that the turbulent political situation between Scotland and England will infuriate her father and cause him to try to kill Erik, so she shies away from the truth. Erik cannot allow his passion for Ellie to interfere with his vow to see the Bruce reclaim his throne. The unexpected death of King Edward opens a new vista of possibilities, unexpected situations and an incredibly satisfying climax. (BALLANTINE, Sep., 416 pp., $7.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin