The Normans have conquered the land but not the people after the Battle of Hastings. William's knights who are rewarded new holdings will have to bring peace to the territory. Luke de Perigueux is such a man.

Renowned as a fierce warrior, Luke, The Black Dragon, secretly longs for a farmer's life and is pleased to be given land and a bride. Yet he fears himself; the herbs he has taken to strengthen him as a warrior have a hold on his mind and body and threaten his new existence.

When Faithe of Hauekleah learns her husband died at Hastings, she resigns herself to become the wife of the new lord. Though she should despise her new husband, Faithe is a practical woman; one who will do what she must to survive and help her people. Faithe learns that, though her husband is a warrior, he is also kind and just and that his brother, Alex, admires him for good reason. As they begin to love one another, their devotion is tested. Luke is accused of killing Faithe's first husband.

Patricia Ryan continues to create superb medieval romances that capture the atmosphere of the time. Readers are swept up into her characters' lives and witness all the color and passion of the era. Though the plot theme is not new, Ms. Ryan breathes freshness into every page and enthralls readers with the power of her characters' emotions and their intelligent handling of complex situations. She is a wonderful writer whose talent continues to enchant readers. SENSUAL (May, 384 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin