“This story is for everyone. But not everyone is for this story.”
Toma Nicolescu, a warrior, is sent by Catherine the great to protect two sisters and their mother. At first convinced that it is just a simple job- He, after all, will not cave to the sisters beauty like his friend Alec will- and all he must do is help the mother arrange a marriage for the eldest sister, Lucine.

That just goes to show how mistaken Toma can be.

When a strange group of Russians arrive, Toma senses something strange about them. They seem more attractive, more powerful, and yet far more repulsive than anyone he knows. However, he sees nothing wrong with them or their strange ways…
At first.
As his suspicion of the beautiful strangers rises, so does his love for Lucine, and soon both are entangled in a dark plot, power, and a battle between good and evil.

Looking back now, I can say the series of incredible events that forever changed my understanding of this ordered world began in earnest in that moment. Though I did not recognize or embrace it then, the axis of this planet surely shifted. The stars reversed their course and sent a spell of love and anguish, tears and laughter into the valley, and I was too thickheaded to yet see it.

Ted Dekker is a truly amazing author.
I was drawn into the book as soon as I read the first page, and it only took me a few days to finish it. The writing is beautiful, and he uses so much symbolism that sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s an allegory and what’s not.

The characters also brought me into the story- None were perfect, and yet I never got mad at the main characters (the story is told from Toma and Lucine’s points of view) for doing something so dumb that it was ridiculous. All the characters had their own distinct personalitites, and for most of the book I was kept guessing about who was going to do what.

The plot also deserves mention- I guessed a few of the plot “twists”, but overall felt like I didn’t quite know what was going to happen next.

Overall, this is an incredibly wonderful book, and I enjoyed it very much. However, it is also a clearly Christian book, so if that does not appeal to you, you probably won’t enjoy this book so much. Also- this was a book found in the “grown up” section of my library, and as such needs treatment in that way. I would not recommend this book to anyone under fourteen, due to some of the adult themes.