Haunting Warrior

Erin Quinn
May 2010, Paranormal Romance
Berkley, $15.00, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0425234142
Part of a series

Grade: B+
Sensuality: Warm

Rory MacGrath hasn't been back to Ireland since he was sent to live with his aunt in California at the tender age of twelve. He couldn't blame his family for wanting to be rid of him; when his father inexplicably disappeared while trying to uncover the secrets to the ancient Book of Fennore, Rory responded with a perfect storm of rage and despair. Now a bouncer at one of the grittier clubs in town, he disdains his family's belief in the ancient ways and denies any echoes of magic he might feel in his own soul. But he can't deny the dreams. Dreams of a woman, a book - and the murder of a man who could pass for Rory himself; whom he fears is himself.

When his dead grandmother visits to give him a summons to her funeral, he is at first reluctant. But every instinct tells him that the solution to his troubling dreams can only be found on the Emerald Isle. So he boards a plane braced to face a past he was running from in order to find the answers he needs to face a future he fears.

Saraid's people are in desperate need of a savior. Hunted to near extinction by Cathan Half-Beard and his son The Bloodletter, it is unlikely they will last the winter. Then an old woman in strange clothes appears to her in a vision offering cryptic hope. But what can she possibly mean when she says that "A man will come to you in the guise of another?"

When Rory sees his dream woman at the funeral he sacrifices decorum to chase her down. But she leads him into the distant past where he finds himself submerged in the body of his dream doppelganger - the man who has just become Saraid's husband. Rory instinctively knows that it is she who holds all the answers to the mysteries of his past and future. She may be his destiny - but is it one that ends in violence? Or salvation?

This is the second book in Quinn's Haunting series. While I had some struggles with the first book, I found this one an edge of my seat thriller. I couldn't wait to see how Rory and Saraid were going to overcome their difficulties, outwit their enemies, and defeat the evil known as the Book of Fennore. The action felt much tauter in this one, the suspense much more intense.

Part of that is the clarity of what was happening. We follow Rory through his dreams and visions with more certainty than we did Dani in book one, and more is actually being done as opposed to spoken of. That could be attributed to the fact that Dani has already dealt with the time vortex that was causing the problem, but I think it can also be that Quinn is feeling much more secure in her world.

Rory is an ideal hero for this type of book. He is at first skeptical and self-serving, but as the story goes on he is also chivalrous and powerful. I like when I see character growth and change that is explained in the context of the story and that definitely happened here. I also loved that Saraid seemed to bring out the best in him. As an added note, I was pleased with the fact that he didn't know how to live in the 10th century. It made sense that he lost his first sword fight - he'd never fought with a blade before! Getting used to the food, being fearful of infection - I thought those were all things that were necessary in the face of time travel. I would have a tough time going back to 1940s America, I can't even picture life in a foreign country some ten centuries ago.

Saraid was a good heroine. There was nothing particularly unique about her, but I felt that she fit into time and place well, was likable and a satisfying match for Rory.

Especially intriguing here were the villain ( a bit of a blast from the past) and the explanations given regarding the Book of Fennore. The explanations were given in a manner that really complimented the story and what we had learned in the past, making them all that much more enjoyable to get.

You might be able to read this book without reading Haunting Beauty but I think the experience would be far, far better if you read HB first. This series looks to be a lot of fun - a little bit different from your typical paranormal - so I would recommend getting in while there isn't a lot of catching up to do. I think most paranormal fans will find it well worth their while.

-- Maggie Boyd

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