A Glimmer of Guile Book Cover A Glimmer of Guile
Mary Patterson Thornburg
Fantasy Romance
Unical Press
April 17, 2014
230

Vivia has guile. Using only the power of her mind, she can make water boil, heal the sick, create illusions, and even transform herself into a bird or a pirate. But guilish folk are considered witches by most people, and that frightens them.
Her first teacher taught her healing arts, and after that she studied with Taso Raym, the most powerful male witch in the land. He taught her many things, and not just guilish skills. Unfortunately, neither Vivia nor Raym could ignore their attraction to each other, and intimacy between them would have meant the end of her guile. So she joined Ladygate, an all-female community, and accepted that love was not for her.
After a while, though, she realizes Ladygate is not where she belongs either. So she accepts the task of investigating the disappearance of a lord's son, kidnapped, it seems, by the malevolent witch Orath. Her guilish training is not quite complete, and she hopes Raym can help her.
But Raym has also disappeared. Vivia is on her own, with a task to do—one that now touches her heart. She’s almost sure she has the necessary strength and skill…
…Unless Raym and Orath are in league with each other.
Meeting challenges head on, Vivia learns from her mistakes. Her guile grows with each success, as she follows a convoluted, hazy trail to the sea and, beyond, to the lair of Orath and her tyrannical consort, the Red Prince. There she finds Raym, captive and enthralled by a guile stronger and more deadly than she ever imagined. Planning carefully, she prepares herself for a confrontation she must believe she will win…

Reviewed by:   Linda Tonis

Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

It has been almost two years since Thegan Vivia was brought to Ladygate by Taso Raym.  In the novelette, The Boy-Wolf, we first met Vivia and learned about her magical abilities.  Her father sent her  to apprentice with another woman with guile (the term used for magic). When that woman died, Vivia went to learn from Taso Raym.  After a few years, the relationship between the two became more than just teacher, student. Although Taso would not lose his abilities, it was wildly known that most women did, something Taso was not going to let happen to Vivia.

Taso found the only alternative to protect Vivia was to take her to study at Ladygate, a community for women with guile where men were not allowed to enter.  From the day she came to Ladygate. Viva was not accepted either by the other students or by Lady Harken the woman they called “Mother Superior.”  Now Vivia has been assigned an important job. She must travel to the kingdom of Maal run by Prince Maltuk who is protected by his witch Orath, known for her cruelty.  The son of King Horok, Tedor, has been kidnapped, and she must find him.

Vivia is in for a very rough trip and needs the use of the Shift, the ability to change into something else.  The only problem she has is returning to her normal state. Once again, she finds herself seeking help from Taso.  Unfortunately, when she arrives at his cottage he is gone. Undoubtedly, it is the work of Orath.  Her adventure is getting harder and harder.  Can she hope to defeat Orath?  Can she save both Taso and Tedor?

Vivia’s magic is tested constantly on the trip, and she is able to find allies willing to help her in her quest.  There are some surprises for her while travelling.  She knows Orath is aware of her, but can she find a way to outsmart her?  There are those who want to see Orath and Maltuk dead because of the cruelty Maltuk with which he treats his subjects.  They suffer from near starvation, plagues, and hopelessness.

There is some violence, but nothing drastic.  There are some surprises, action, and a lot of magic. Although the prequel introduces some of the characters, the author does a wonderful job of bringing the reader up to date.