In 1308 Circenn Brodie, the immortal laird of Brodie, swears an oath to kill whomever comes along with a hallowed Fae flask that's been recently stolen and put a binging spell on.
In present day Cincinnati, Lisa Stone is working two jobs to pay the medical bills for her deathly ill mother. One of those jobs include night cleaning at the museum...Then one morning, curiosity makes her touch a shimmering flask in a recently unearthed chest brought to the US from the Scottish Highlands...and she finds herself flung 700 years back, to 1314 and castle Dunnottar, smack in the middle of Circenn Brodie's chambers.
Yet the man who swore the oath to kill her, the man who lived his life with honor, cannot bring himself to do what he'd sworn to do. And the woman who, in the past five years, had seldom experienced tenderness, care and comfort finds herself falling for the towering warrior.
But there are obligations waiting for her back in the future, and even though Circenn claims he cannot return her, Lisa is adamant in finding a way out of her predicament and back to her mother's side...Even if it means breaking two hearts in the process.
This was the first Karen Marie Moning book I ever bought, it introduced me to the author and to this series. And yes, it's probably my favorite of them all. You know, you never forget your first one.
But what's not to like about this story, really?
It's set in Scottish Highlands (my favorite setting of them all; I've actually visited both castles mentioned in this story—Dunnottar and Brodie!), it features, albeit briefly, the battle at Bannock Burn (providing one of the best quotes in this book*), it's filled with wonderful supporting cast (the Douglas Brothers, the surprise appearance of Robert the Bruce in all his matchmaking glory...), and has one hell of a leading man.
Circenn Brodie, the ninth-century warrior living in the fourteenth-century war-torn Scotland, falling in love with a twenty-first century woman. And the man was barely ruffled, except when it came to the woman, of course, as it should be.
Granted, I'm not really sure why he fell in love with her, she (at least not that I could see) had any special characteristics, except for being "alien" and having a mind of her own. Yes, she's suffered, she had issues, but that was pretty much it. Not much was spent on her character at least not in the way for Circenn to fall for her the way he did.
While many pages were spent on Circenn and all his good qualities (did he even have any bad ones), making him known to the reader so that she/he would understand, empathize and sympathize with Lisa's plight as she stumbled over the proverbial cliff.
And then there was Adam Black whose real identity, as it was revealed, comes as a huge surprise for those who read this book for the first time. I'm glad he's starting to redeem himself after the "mischief" he concocted in the first book (where he was quite a villain) and we're slowly working toward his own story.
This book was a fast-paced, intriguing mix of historical romance and time-travel with a gripping, yet minor, suspense and treason sub-plot, the romance was lovely and heartfelt, the narration was wonderfully evocative, painting vivid pictures of the characters and their surroundings...All nicely intertwined with magical elements and the beauty of Scotland.
Along the Bannock Burn, Circenn Brodie was an animal, merciless and swift. Later the men would claim he vied with the Berserkers in his deadly rage, and epics would be composed in his honor. He was cold and sharp and hard, and good for nothing but slaughter. He lost himself in a blackness so complete that he cared naught if he slew legions, he simply raged, hoping to exhaust himself and gain the respite of unconsciousness, a temporary kind of death.