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Feature book: A Warlord’s Lady

23 April 2014

A Warlord's LadyA Warlord’s Lady by Nicola E Sheridan

Sabra Westwood feels she is more or less ordinary (although she’s a Chameleon), until she is captured by a magician warlord. Chameleons have chromatophores, which allow them to control their skin, hair, etc to change and blend with the colouration of their backdrop. Sabra doesn’t have any family, she was brought up in foster care, and while travelling on a three-month long service vacation met Maggie, with whom she is out drinking when abducted.

Cain Dath is a magical warlord operating in Laos. His home base is hidden deep in the jungle and protected by magical shields. He is fighting to protect the rights of magical and non-human beings. Cain is fit, handsome, oozes sex appeal and can’t seem to resist Sabra. He has an adversarial history with Sabra’s travelling companion Maggie (who gets freakier as the book progresses).

Sabra and Cain have a somewhat complicated relationship, given that he abducts her, even though their attraction appears simple on the surface. He seems to enjoy her plumpish, shorter statured body. She enjoys fabulous sex with Cain, but seems drugged by him in these physical encounters. Their lack of conversation makes Sabra worry that the relationship is purely physical and causes her to doubt herself. This and a bevy of scantily clad women offering themselves to Cain lead to even more self-doubt and a boat load of anger and resistance to Cain’s charms for Sabra. The evil Sergeant Hollis (ostensibly guarding her against Cain on her return to Australia), insults and threatens Sabra. He also lurks and schemes, generally causing problems for both Sabra and Cain and in the wider world trying to instigate war between ordinary humans and not-so-average beings.

I loved the Australian feel of the book; to quote, ‘The accusation hung like a fart in the air between them’. Seriously who else but an Aussie would write that? I would have liked the antagonist, Sergeant Hollis, to have more depth. He felt a little one dimensional, just another egomaniacal evil, but on the other hand the book was about Sabra and Cain. As an aside, this story freaked me a little in a sci-fi-foretelling-the-future kind of way. While reading the book, I came across a news bite saying research by Australian scientists regarding light reflection on mother-of-pearl surfaces was being used by US forces as a basis for light bending camouflage. I’m trying not to give spoilers, but it is interesting.

Reviewed by Gina

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

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