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Guardian of Honor    by Robin D. Owens order for
Guardian of Honor
by Robin D. Owens
Order:  USA  Can
Luna, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

When the magic boundaries of Llandrana fail and hideous monsters invade and begin to devour the fertile lands, it is up to the Sword Marshals to follow ancient tradition and summon an 'exotique' to save their land. After losing her best friend and business partner, lawyer Alexa Fitzwalter has just taken much needed time off to reflect on what direction her life and her career should take. Little does she realize that an otherworldly presence is seeking her out. She is pulled into a magical land by the Marshal's call and finds herself in a wondrous yet terribly confusing realm, where every soul looks to her for salvation. But how can Alexa fix anything for them? She's been unwillingly pulled from her life and the world she loves. She finds herself completely out of her element, no matter how hospitable the Marshals are. She can't even understand the language.

Alexa is soon made aware of just what the Marshals are asking of her. She also learns that as an 'exotique', she has automatically acquired certain abilities that defy logic, at least in simple human terms. Training and passing many tests help Alexa learn how to direct and control her newly discovered 'skills'. So does the help of a mystical shape shifter, and the handsome and single-minded Chevalier, Bastien, who at first wants nothing to do with this new 'exotique' the high and mighty Marshals have summoned. But once he meets Alexa and they both discover how well they mesh, both magically and personally, they become inseparable. Now will Alexa's still untested magic mend the rift that is inexorably being torn down by insatiable monsters intent on destroying Llandrana and its citizens?

Robin Owens blends medieval history, a richly layered magical world and fine characterizations to weave a spell binding story in Guardian of Honor. Llandrana is a complex and very believable world where magic is common, but almost takes second stage to the politics between the Marshals and the Chevaliers. Both groups are unwilling to give quarter, and things only become more tense when Alexa is shoved between the two unyielding factions. Sequels are in the works and it will be interesting to see who is summoned in part two of this lively new fantasy romance series.

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