Elisa Rolle's Reviews > Dark Waters

Dark Waters by Chris Quinton
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Jun 05, 2009

Read in April, 2009

This is not absolutely a "light" tale, and the cover unfortunately didn't do it justice.

Dark Waters is a tale which has its roots in the old Scottish legends, and it's setting in a time when people still believed in those legends. The Eldren, fey people or similar, were mythical creatures, sometime in human form, sometime in animal form, and sometime in between. From a period during while they probably commanded on the world, now their mixed blood sons are among the ordinary people, even if they don't lead a "normal" life: they are travellers, leaders or monks, always a step above the common mob.

Flein is one of them and he chose to be a traveller. He wanders all over the world, being immortal, or at least with a life span much greater than a full human. Now he is travelling in the Highland, and he is warned against a waterhorse (a shapeshifter horse who lives along the loch) who preys on human. But Flein is not scared, maybe he is also a bit fascinated; and when he meets the creature, first as a beautiful stallion and then as an even more beautiful naked man, he manages to tame it (or at least he thinks so). He named it Donnchadh, and probably he would be content like that, having seen and met a wonderful creature, but someone else in the Glen is accusing Donnchadh to be a murderer and a rapist, preying on the woman of the clan MacAllister.

Now Donnchadh is not a saint, and indeed he preys on human, but he is an honest beast, as said one member of the clan; he only kills if attacked or for food, and he absolutely doesn't rape his "preys". Donnchadh is not "happy" that someone else is hunting on his ground and threating his "people": in his mind, the Loch and the Glen are his ground, given to him centuries ago by his father, and he has to protect them, but more like a shepherd with his sheep than a pater familias. And so with the help of Flein he is on the trail of the real murderer.

It's not an easy tale, but probably it respects the myths and legends. Donnchadh is not a "shapeshifter" for romance novel, he is scaring and dangerous and he probably accepts Flein's friendship (and something more), only since the man is not enterily human... he is more like him than he wants to admit.

Flein on the other hand treat Donnchadh as a fascinating creature. For most of the book, Flein thinks to him like an "it", not a human. He is honest enough to admit that he is interested in him also in a very personal way, but at the beginning I read that interest like the one you could have for an exotic creature, that you don't consider entirely civilized... more or less the same interest an explorer could have for a native who he doesn't consider at his level. But then Flein realizes that Donnchadh has his own behavioural code, that he knows what is right and wrong, only that sometime what is right for him, it's wrong for someone else. Do you know that conquerors used to say that the natives were not human being but more animal since they didn't know how to distinct between Good and Evil? Problem is that they had as parameter their own Good and Evil...

Anyway this is only a novella, but it's a very good one; so close your eyes and try to not look at the cover when you will click on the buy button! Oh, one last thing, for an Ellora's Cave novel, there is not so much sex as you would expect, and sometime this is not a fault ;-)

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