The lush smell of spices, the soft
silk of the harem and the intrigue of
court life combine as Groe sweeps readers into her novel through picturesque descriptions of medieval Constantinople. She crafts a lavish love story that's as entertaining as it is epic.

Cast out of her native Norseland, where she is reviled for her gift of the "sight," Valdis is sold to a clever eunuch. She's trained in harem arts and encouraged to use her visions to rise to a position in the household of a powerful man.

But it's fellow Viking Erik who holds her heart. Exiled, he has found his place is the foreign city and has been hired to tutor Valdis in their language and customs. Falling in love is not part of the arrangement -- their love is dangerous, and if they're discovered it will mean certain death. But Valdis will risk her life in a deadly game of politics, power and temptation to win her heart's desire. (Leisure, Jul., 336 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin