TEARS OF THE DESERT ROSE
Barbara Clark


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Amber Quill Press, July 2003
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood

Fantasy Romance

Jalil, brother of the Sultan of Duraza, senses danger. Their uncle Tarif, an exiled traitor, still plans to seize power in Duraza, threatening the lives of the royal family. Jalil’s paranormal senses tell him Tarif may well succeed, unless the writing on an ancient, powerful artifact can be translated and put to use.

Rose McGuire, translator of dead languages, is already studying an artifact for an unpleasant prince when Jalil asks her to evaluate a silver chest and its contents. Jalil brings very unwelcome memories with him – of friendship, maybe even love, betrayed. Rose would like to order him out of her life, if only she didn’t so desperately need his help. Besides, he won’t go.

Helping Jalil doesn’t seem so impossible once he saves her life. The quest leads them to northern Africa, where the royal family of Duraza has enemies gathering even within the palace. Rose’s repressed extrasensory talents become as important as Jalil’s, as she learns to use the magical Tear of the Gods which could be Duraza’s salvation.

TEARS OF THE DESERT ROSE is a sweet, enchanting romance. It is also an exciting adventure through the perilous beauty of the desert. Somewhere in her many travels throughout the USA, author Barbara Clark learned to love North African culture, and TEARS OF THE DESERT ROSE is infused with its color and tradition. Her fictional country of Duraza – snugged in, so far as I can tell, between Egypt and Libya – is ringed around with traitors and outlaws; threatened, but clinging to its honor. Rose was raised by archaeologists, nursemaided by local servants who taught her their ways. Jalil was trained to the desert by experts. Between them they give the reader the illusion of sharing the wonder and adventure of their trek.

Illusion it must be, of course. We may forget for the duration of the book that we are not likely to be raising a sandstorm in self-defense any time soon, unerringly tracking an endangered loved one by the soul signature, or taking a good look at an enemy’s defenses before deciding how to approach within detection range. I was so caught up in the reality of TEARS, that the part I had trouble believing is when Rose doesn’t use her mental powers. For a woman with such strong telekinesis, I thought to myself, Rose sure gets captured and carried off a lot. The better to increase the suspense, of course.

TEARS OF THE DESERT ROSE is the fifth book in Barbara Clark’s Sons of Earth and Wind series. Each of the books in this series has won at least one prize, plus other nominations. Friends of the series may now welcome another delightful couple. The delicate, protective love that Jalil and Rose have for each other, their dedication to taking care of those depending on them, their determined facing of Fate, all give TEARS OF THE DESERT ROSE an irresistible appeal. It is soon to be followed by a sixth, JADE DREAMS.

July 2003 Review Originally Published On WOR

 

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