Keeper of the Flame by Bianca D’Arc

FLAME
Keeper of the Flame by Bianca D’Arc
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (322 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

A warrior, a maiden…and a passion that could set the whole world aflame.

Dragon Knights, Book 7

Despite the fact he is the largest of his half-dragon brothers and better suited to fighting, Hugh has been sent on an undercover mission. Forced to stay in human form, he must discover if the land of Helios is truly the Draconian ally it pretends, or something more sinister.

When he witnesses injustice in the form of a misshapen baby gryphon kicked out into the cold, he cannot remain in the shadows and watch the child suffer. All he can hope for is that his act of kindness will go unnoticed so his mission can continue.

But someone does notice. When Lera cautiously approaches Hugh, she is drawn to his strange, foreign magic. She is entranced by its irresistible allure—until assassins come calling and reveal her true identity.

She is Valeria, queen of Helios, Keeper of the Flame. And she has been betrayed. Together they must risk everything to uncover the traitors and reforge the alliance between their lands. Yet beneath their blazing passion, both are still keeping secrets. Secrets that the Sacred Flame will reveal—if their love survives its cleansing fire.

Warning: When a dragon prince and a Flame Keeper come together, the conflagration is definitely too hot to handle!

Keeper of the Flame is the seventh book in Bianca D’Arc’s Dragon Knights series, and the first new book in a few years.

Prince Hugh of Draconia is a long way from home because a seer convinces his brother, the king, that Hugh should journey to Helios posing as a simple traveler, to see if he can discover whether Helios is still an ally to Draconia, and do so without exposing his inner dragon. The seer has said he needs to meet with the Doge of Helios, the ruler of that distant land, to see whether there may be cause for alarm. As third in line to the throne, Hugh is more warrior than spy, so he tries to keep his cover as honest as possible.

When he suddenly finds a young, abandoned gryphon, Hugh is determined to protect her from harm, because he believes she has seen too much hurt already. As he cares for her, he finds allies in the innkeeper where he has lodgings, and the innkeeper’s young son. When a mysterious highborn lady comes to the inn, Hugh believes she is there to take Miss, and he is determined to keep her safe. But things aren’t as they appear, and soon Hugh, the Lady and Miss are forced to go on the run, avoiding assassins and intrigue, and a plot to kill the Lady, Valeria. What Hugh doesn’t know, is Lera is the Doge, and also his mate. As the danger continues to build, Lera realizes there are traitors wishing her harm, including a member of her own family. In the middle of the drama, Hugh realizes that he is destined to stay with Lera in Helios, and they continue to grow closer to each other and to Miss, the little gryphlet Hugh rescued. As the extent of the treachery continues to grow, Hugh is relieved when his twin brothers and a pair of dragon knights, along with an emissary from Gryffid, the wizard, arrive to help with the defense of Lera and Miss, and the throne of Helios. Can Hugh, Lera and Miss survive the many attempts by the evil Eyes (master assassins), all the while forging bonds that will stand the test of time and more? Will the fire Lera wields strengthen Hugh’s hold on her heart? Can these three survive to form the family the so desperately want?

The characters in this are as well crafted and intriguing as those that came before, and I enjoyed meeting some new members of the royal family, and catching up on news from familiar old friends too. I love that Ms. D’Arc is beginning to expand the world of the Dragon Knights, taking us to the lands where gryphons rule the skies, and dragons are not seen, at least not until Hugh shows up.

Valeria is the Doge, or queen, of Helios, and also the Keeper of the Flame, the most sacred position in the land. I love her strength, her determination and her fairness. In spite of the danger, and the hurt that the traitor who hired the assassins is family, she fights alongside Hugh to defend the throne, because she knows that to fail is to doom herself, and her people. And in spite of her fear, she has courage and yet there is a vulnerability that seeps through, keeping her from being too hard. I liked that she trusted Hugh, believing him to be just a man, and I was delighted when she took his dragon side totally in stride.

Prince Hugh of Draconia is strong, handsome and protective of those who trust in him. When Miss, the abandoned gryphlet, and then Lera are in danger, Hugh steps up and keeps them all safe. I enjoyed watching as Hugh and Lera gave in to the attraction building between them, and Hugh’s decision that he would not be returning to his brother’s court. Hugh begins to believe that his meeting Valeria, and finding she is his mate, is part of what the seer predicted to his brother. I loved that Hugh was able to let Lera be strong, and not try to keep her from what she needed to do.

There are many converging threads in this story of treachery, betrayal and danger. There is also love, passion and laughter, and the joy of watching as a youngster learns she has worth, in spite of her hard beginnings. I love the baby gryphlet, Miss, and her growing attachment to ‘Hoo’. She is a strong character as well, learning that she has worth to those who truly care for her, and I was absolutely delighted when Hugh and Lera formally adopt her. As with all of Ms. D’Arc’s Dragon Knights books, there is lots of steamy hot sex in some unusual places. I loved seeing Hugh and Lera try to find ways to be together, while still trying to keep their actions from little Miss. There is a large cast of characters here, and although not all have major roles, everyone contributes to this in some way. I have missed this world, filled with fantasy and passion, and I welcome Ms. D’Arc’s Dragon Knights back for more adventures. I look forward to more stories in this world, but be warned; this one is as hot as a dragon’s flaming breath at times.

Comments

  1. This is a must read for me .Hope you have a fantastic weekend .

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