Synopsis: Prince Everard’s father spent the boy’s youth forging the prince into a warrior. Upon the king’s death, however, Everard realizes he’s lost himself somewhere along the way, and in his pain, makes a decision that brings a dark curse upon both him and the great Fortress that has so long guarded the people of Destin.
The prince’s sin doesn’t simply affect those of his citadel, however. Isa, the daughter of a local merchant, has suffered the prince’s hasty temper before, and it changed her life forever. When Everard’s final outburst cuts off his people’s source of protection with the curse, he demands that she, a crippled commoner, come to help him break it. All the while, Destin’s northern enemy crouches at the foot of the Fortress’s mountain, waiting for the right moment to capture the stronghold that has stood for a thousand years.
With the freedom of Destin at stake, can both Everard and Isa find ways to move beyond their brokenness and hatred for one another, not only to break the curse but to find love as well? Or will they and their beloved kingdom remain under darkness forever?
A war starts, and Ever spends time strategizing and planning. There are a few skirmishes. Isa was hurt as a young girl by Ever and then was trampled by a horse – she became a cripple. The enemy’s magic including invading people’s dreams and causing fear/madness. After a battle, all the prisoners are executed on the spot. When the curse is cast, the Fortress is under siege – Isa is attacked by the arrows and a bird, Ever defends her.
A kiss between Isa’s parents. Isa and Ever kiss. The former king’s relationship with his wife was described as cold – he never ‘visited’ her after Ever was born.
After his father dies, Ever indulges in wine and become drunk. He orders the cripples to be killed, bringing down the curse on him.
Ever is the King, but it doesn’t excuse lawlessness. He is punished when he tries to misuse that power and is taught to rule with gentleness, mercy and love, and not just by a warrior’s hand.
They pray to the Maker – the holy man coronates and weds Isa and Ever – the Fortress is a servant of the Maker, so is Garin (who’s akin to an angel) – they swear on the Holy Writ.
Ever has magic, and Isa develops that ability when the fortress chooses her. The enemy has slaves – their tongues are cut out.
Overall feel: An interesting and engaging read. Isa and Ever have been hurt by the other, but their path of forgiveness and love is beautiful to see. The world that the author has created is fascinating, and her characters are well developed. Although for more mature readers, just because of the style and story, the content is clean.