A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil—until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.
Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.
Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…
Combining the scope of an epic fantasy with the scorching sex scenes of erotic romance, Meljean Brook (the Iron Sea Series), writing as Vane, makes a splash with this enemies-to-lovers romance that kicks off her A Gathering of Dragons series. All that barbarian Maddek knows about Princess Yvenne when he captures her is that she's the daughter of his greatest enemy and thus will be the means of his vengeance. He doesn't expect the weak but courageous woman to offer an alliance, agreeing to aid him in bringing down her family as she's burning with her own hatred against her controlling, power-hungry father. Their perilous journey back to Maddek's homeland to enact their revenge is studded with pain and hardship, but also with sexual tension that develops into an erotic relationship. Warrior Maddek proves himself to be honorable and honest, and Yvenne, though no match for him in strength, demands his respect from the very beginning with her wit and fortitude. Though their trek, which takes up the bulk of the novel, occasionally drags, it offers plenty of tantalizing glimpses into Vane's richly imagined dark fantasy world. Fans of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel trilogy will be hooked.