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Path of Blood by Diana Pharaoh  Francis
Review by Harriet Klausner
Roc Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0451460820
Date: 02 May, 2006 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Nokulas were created from beings once human with a magic that the wizards hope can be siphoned and used for themselves not caring what happens to the beings they created. Yohuac, bred to form a magic life for one year on Cemanahautl crosses over into the world of Kodu Riik where he meets and falls in love with Reisil, a love doomed from the start because he must return to his home and complete his mission before he is sacrificed to his god. He needs help in stopping the destruction in this world caused by the wizard's spell. Reisil also learns if she doesn't mend the crack between the worlds that the magic produced, then her orb will be destroyed as well. She journeys to Cemanahautl to learn from the female mages how to do what is necessary to save both worlds. When she comes back to her own world she tries to mend the breach while the regent and his army, the wizards and the Nokulas attack the city. Reisil has to work fast if she is to save two worlds.

What began in Path of Honor and continued in Path of Fire comes to a glorious conclusion in Path of Blood. Readers of the previous two Path tales note how Reisil turns from a lonely and frightened young lady into a courageous woman who comes into her own, understanding her role and her full blown skills which makes her the only possible savior of two worlds. Fans will admire her courage as she carries the weight of her world and soon another realm on her shoulders. Her own people recognize her burden and brave demeanor, but more significantly trust and care for her as she has proven time and time again that she has the interests of their world at heart. They believe Reisil is willing to die for them and many expect she will, though they know she is the last hope.

The star-crossed romance sub-plot plays an important role in the ultimate outcome of the fate of these two worlds yet, from the very beginning the heroine knows she has found her love for only a short time. Although the villains are stereotypes from the sword and sorcery handbook 101, they serve as important symbols for what is wrong in Reisil's world. There are many surprises and plot twists in the story line; some so delightfully shocking and incredible that they will stun the reader as they are cleverly worked into the book and provide the unexpected. This is just part of the charm of Path of Blood, an entertaining and magical tale written by great worldbuilder Diane Pharaoh Frances.

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