This was a difficult book to categorize. It has a historical (and unusual) setting: 132 A.D. Roman-occupied Britain with a rich depiction of Roman and Celtic cultures uneasily co-existing. Deep Magic could also be called a paranormal: Druid Magic, extra sensory abilities, and shapeshifting. I also want to call it a fantasy romance: it has more in common with sweeping, epic high fantasy than a paranormal romance.
The blurb doesn’t really do the book justice, so here’s a bit more. Gwendolyn is a powerful and independent Druidess, destined to be the Guardian of Avalon, a hidden Celtic settlement. When Avalon is threatened, she takes it upon herself to create a magical weapon and will need the help of a Roman blacksmith named Marcus Aquila. Using their combined skills, Marcus and Gwendolyn forge Exchalybur. Will they be able to save the people of Avalon? And will Gwendolyn and Marcus be able to overcome their differences and be together?
This book started off slow. Lots of “Light,” “Darkness,” “Deep Magic,” “Words” ( all with significant capitals) – concepts that were obviously important but didn’t make much sense. Characters spoke with that “wasna”, “dinna”, “ye” dialect that I don’t like. However, once the book hit its stride, it was absolutely wonderful. The magical stuff was explained without info dumping. The setting was vivid and well-fleshed out, and the secondary characters were interesting and vital to the story, rather than just sequel bait. The plot unfolded slowly, and deliciously. I wanted it drawn out to prolong my enjoyment. This is the first book that I’ve read in months where I was hoping that everyone would just go to sleep so I could get back to reading.
A compelling plot, interesting characters and an intense romance are combined for an unusual treat. I would recommend Deep Magic to those who like unusual historical settings, paranormal fans who are sick of the usual fare, and fantasy fans. I will be putting Ms. Nash on my “must read” list, and will definitely seek out her prior, related titles (FYI: despite my first impression, this book can certainly stand alone). A great way to end 2007, and raise my reading hopes for 2008.
Blurb: Primordial power, older than Light and Dark magic. Dangerous. Unpredictable. Forbidden. A power no human can tame.
One woman will try. She is Gwendolyn — Druidess, Daughter of the Lady. She fears her Light alone is not strong enough to protect Avalon from its enemy. Marcus Aquila — Roman, blacksmith, hater of magic. To banish his sister’s terrifying premonitions, Marcus barters his skills to a tempting Druidess he dares not trust.
Together, they create Exchalybur. Dangerous. Unpredictable. Forbidden. A weapon no human can command. One woman will try.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: