Book Review: May 2006
by Sandra Barret (author of Lavender Secrets)

Sword of the Guardian is a romantic fantasy story by first-time author, Merry Shannon. The story centers on Shasta, the young, spoiled heir to the Ithyrian throne after her twin brother's murder. She would have been dead herself were it not for the efforts of Talon, a member of an acrobatic troupe visiting the palace. Talon, who has been passing as a man to protect herself and her sisters, is assigned as personal bodyguard to Shasta. While initially the two do not see eye to eye, they eventually form a strong bond. But that bond is tested repeatedly by the continued threats to Shasta's life and the political deterioration of Ithyria's provincial leaders. But this is not a simple tale of survival and retribution. The guiding forces for Ithyria and Ithyria's enemies are the Goddess and God pair who fight for dominion through their human followers.

Shannon's first novel is journey of self-discovery for Shasta, Talon, and Talon's sisters. Each character transforms through the novel, but the most pronounced character journey centers around Shasta.

Shannon creates a believable, fascinating world that marks this as a fantasy setting that the author will hopefully return to in future novels. As a romance novel, Sword of the Guardian accurately presents the twisting trail that two people sometimes travel in the course of finding true love. Shannon's skill as a romance writer shines most especially in one of the best choreographed love scenes in a lesbian fiction story.

Reprinted with permission.