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Valley of Silence by Nora  Roberts
Review by Mel Jacob
Jove Mass Market  ISBN/ITEM#: 0515141674
Date: 31 October, 2006 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Earlier books in the Circle trilogy, Morrigan's Cross and Dance of the Gods, introduced the characters and the challenge of the vampire Lilith and her quest for domination of all worlds. Each novel focuses on a romance between two members of the Circle. In the Valley of Silence, romance between Moira and the vampire Cian takes center stage to the anger and unhappiness of many. Vampires killed her mother, and Moira slew one in a vengeful demonstration to her court of the hazards and dangers the vampires pose.

During the coronation celebration, Cian saves Moira from an assassin's arrow, earning a margin of respect from some, but distrust remains. Cian fights his attraction to Moira, aware he cannot change his nature and she must marry and produce an heir for kingdom. She also understands, whatever happens in the coming battle, if he survives, Cian will leave Geall. Controlling raging desire tempers and challenges them both

Roberts reveals Lilith's early history and her doting love for the vampire child Davey. While Davey has gained skill in killing and torturing, he lacks control and takes dangerous risks. When he succeeds in luring Moira's kinsman and leader of the strike force to a grisly death, he believes himself invincible.

Training and skirmishing continues throughout the novel. Lilith also uses psychological warfare on the Circle, and the six respond in kind, gaining both knowledge and injuries. Blair, the Circle's female warrior and vampire hunter, urges the shape shifter Larkin to enlist the aid of Geall's gentle dragons. Glenna the witch develops aerial bombs. The wizard Hoyt prepares fiery swords and other weapons and hones his power. All six of the Circle must stand together to defeat Lilith and her minions. The battle against Lilith's wizard will require the combined efforts of Glenna, Hoyt, and Moira.

The blood soaked Valley of Silence welcomes and hides the vampires. The evil aura of the place adds one more obstacle to overcome. However, Geall's men and women fight to preserve their families and world against overwhelming odds. They ask no quarter and give none.

As always, Roberts delivers interesting characters, a fast-paced, action-filled climax, and neatly ties up all the strands of her story. Avid romance readers will love the series and the ending. Those steeped in traditional lore and fantasy may be less accepting. One could even argue she literally uses a deus ex machina to solve a major complication, but this is after all a fantasy trilogy.

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