Into the Wind - Shira Anthony
Shira Anthony is back with the second installment in her Mermen of Ea series, Into The Wind. Picking up where her fist story left off, we travel with Ian and Taren as they are tasked with recovering the Rune stone that promises to be the salvation of the Ea people. A quick note here, if you have not read the first novel in this series, Stealing The Wind, then you will definitely want to do so as this installment is not best read as a standalone, but hinges much of its action on what has gone before. Also, Shira Anthony wisely places a glossary of characters at the beginning of this novel, which really helped me get right back into the flow of this series without any lingering confusion as to who the many characters were and how they intertwined. Now, back to a brief synopsis of the story before I tell you why I think this second tale was even better than the first.

After leaving for the island where the rune stone was being held, Ian’s ship is attacked and left listing in the sea. In an attempt to help battle the enemy, Taren leaps overboard, assuming his merman form, and is promptly hit in the head by an unseen force. Rescued from the water by what appears to be a young boy, Taren follows him to the pirate keep of one Odhran, the last known keeper of the rune stone. Before long, Taren is made to realize that Odhran is not whom he seems, but instead is a half-breed—-that rare form of both human and Ea and the only of his kind. Once again, Shira Anthony weaves the tale of the lost lovers Treande and Owyn into her story, as more is explained about how Taren and Ian are indeed the reincarnations of the long dead Ea lovers. This time, we are made privy to what happened to Treande after Owyn’s death and what Treande did with the run stone he had to cut from his dying lover’s heart in order to save the Ea people. But dangerous forces still pursue Taren and Ian, and there is a traitor amongst Ian’s own crew who will bring about the deaths of more than one of their friends, unleashing a sight unseen for centuries that threatens to destroy them all.

I was mesmerized by this story, captivated by the growing love between Ian and Taren and delighted by the strength that seemed to grow exponentially within Taren. Again and again, I am amazed at the Shira Anthony’s talent to develop characters who are steeped in mysticism and yet poignantly human with raw emotions and painful pasts that make them both vulnerable and yet strangely resilient. This time the story really focuses on Taren’s journey and his need to embrace the memory of Treande and his life with Owyn, if Taren is ever to be able to lead his people to safety and keep them from imprisonment and extermination at the evil hands of Seria and the Council of Ea. Ian, too, must finally realize that he cannot protect Taren from the life the goddess has set for him, and to do so will only push Taren away and poison the love they have for each other.

Again and again this story drew me in with its sweeping action, its delicious plot that was rife with interesting twists and turns, and the incredible ending which will make some wail in disbelief while thrilling at the discovery of a presence from a bygone era. An incredible story, a searing and beautiful romance, and a swashbuckling adventure all rolled into one, Into The Wind is a journey you will not want to miss!