Soul of Fire
Sarah A. Hoyt
Bantam, Aug 2008, $6.99
Her parents make Sofie Warington return from England to her home in India where she is to marry Raj Ajith of the Tiger Realm; he’ll accept as her dowry a flawed ruby. British noble Peter Farewell is banished from his country when his father realized that he is a were-dragon; shape-shifters are killed in England because Queen Victoria believes they are abominations.
Peter seeks the Soul of Fire ruby, the stone used by Charlemagne to bind all magic in Europe to him and his descendants. Nigel has its twin the Heart of Light; Peter plans to give the ruby to Nigel once he finds it. Nigel will then take it back to its rightful place in Africa. He knows the cost of failure is the world will continue to split apart until it destroys itself.
While flying, Peter sees Sofie falling from her balcony as she escapes from her parents and her fiance who demand she marry now. When Peter reveals his identity to her, she feels safe with him although the Tigers pursue them to capture her and the ruby; which is with her servant; they want the stone, the woman, and the magic bound to India in order to toss the British out; whereas Peter believes if the Tigers succeed, the world will end.
SOUL OF FIRE, the companion piece to THE HEART OF LIGHT is a wonderful urban fantasy on an alternate earth where magic works and shapeshifters exist. In India shapeshifters are accepted while in England they are hunted. Thus Peter is tormented as his native land wants him dead and a nation that would accept his duality would let him live if he gave up his beloved and the ruby. Fans will appreciate his dilemma as exile is not what he covets until he meets his Sofie, who gives him the personal reason to complete his quest.