QUEEN OF SWORDS
Sara Donati

 


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Bantam, August 2007
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding

“All this, for a woman,” almost sums it all up. QUEEN OF SWORDS is the fifth book in the Into the Wilderness series. Author Sara Donati follows Luke Scott and Hannah Bonner, Nathaniel Bonner’s children, who are on a mission to rescue Luke’s wife, Jennet and their unborn child. A child Luke is unaware she is carrying.

The year is 1814 and Jennet, who was abducted by pirates in Book Four, has been taken to the French Antilles. After her child is born she makes a bargain with Honoré Poiterin, a corrupt New Orleans businessman, to take her newborn son Nathaniel to safety. Jennet fears the pirate who abducted her will kill the child. When Luke rescues Jennet he finds she has married Poiterin and allowed him to take her child to New Orleans to live with his grandmother. New Orleans is a city at war, caught between two armies -- the British Navy and Andrew Jackson’s Army.

Now, Hannah, Luke and Jennet must enter the arena of war to rescue the child. Their plan forces them to go separately -- a treacherous situation for all. Luke and Jennet must play out a dangerous masquerade in order to get their son back from the grasp of Poiterin’s wealthy and powerful Creole grandmother, Agnés Poiterin. When Hannah becomes deathly ill she encounters prejudice towards herself because of her half-Indian blood and is unable to call on Luke or Jennet for help. Each one is placed in their own precarious position as the tensions and dangers grow throughout New Orleans.

QUEEN OF SWORDS has a more historical twist with the backdrop of the War of 1812 featured so prominently in the lives of these characters. Secrets from Hannah’s past are revealed and she falls in love with a man who could cause her to make a choice that would dramatically change her life. Luke and Jennet have a tangled mess to sort out before they can be reunited as a family.

The Into the Wilderness series began with the story of Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner but they play only minor roles in this installment. They are the reason I love this series and while QUEEN OF SWORDS is interesting, it feels empty without them playing a pivotal role in the dramas. Since this book is not based in Paradise, New York, the original setting of this series, I felt just as homesick for it as Hannah. There are still many threads left hanging in this early-American family drama; however, the final installment isn’t projected to be published until 2009.

Donati has included a list of the primary characters in the front of the book and even though I am a longtime fan of her work, it is needed. In fact, this series has become so extensive it probably needs a companion book to help readers keep track of the comings and goings of it all. QUEEN OF SWORDS is not my favorite book in the series, it's more of an entertaining progression as this family tale matures and moves forward.

August 2007

 

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