Dawn Cook,
Princess at Sea
(Ace, 2006)

Not usually a fantasy reader, the description of Princess at Sea by Dawn Cook intrigued me and I always love to read about strong women who can easily outwit and outfight their male competitors. The story did not disappoint as Tess, the main character, is a tenacious, swashbuckling woman who will do anything to defend her sister Queen Contessa and Prince Alex -- including enduring beatings and a near rape.

Tess is assigned to chaperone Contessa and Alex on a honeymoon voyage and finds herself at the mercy of vicious pirates. Tess manages to kill three of the pirates, and this is where her revenge begins. She is thrown into a pit with a punta cat, which bites her, but the venom doesn't prove as debilitating as one might expect. Soon, magic is involved.

As if there wasn't enough adventure, we also have the love aspect of the story as Tess is infatuated with "bad boy" Duncan, a rogue and cardsharp whose love may not be as genuine as she believes.

There is quite a twist at the end, leaving room for this sequel to develop into a trilogy. The first book in the series is The Decoy Princess.

by Risa Duff
30 December 2006

Buy it from Amazon.com.