With HAUNTING WARRIOR I felt Erin Quinn was like a bard of old time who kept me mesmerized with a story of long ago. A story where a warrior finds himself on a quest, where a woman discovers her inner strength, a love that ignites through time, where a book wheels its untold powers and a villain is on the heels of the main characters with nothing but revenge pounding in his blood. The mystery and the mysticism really brings the vibe of an ancient Éire, eerie in its magic and Druid ways, to the forefront. All of these elements gave voice to a sweeping romantic tale that kept me bound to the pages.
To understand the full family dynamics and back story I feel HAUNTING BEAUTY should be read previous to HAUNTING WARRIOR. Rory MacGrath is a man who seems lost, dreams of a woman he doesn't know and when he is visited by his recently deceased nana he is ordered to return home, to Ballyfionúr. His reunion with his family is short for the woman from his dreams and the Book of Fennore have other plans as he is casted back in time. There he stands face to face with his father who disappeared when he was a child and looks at a man who could be his twin.
All characters are vividly drawn in the mind's eye and they are a combination of individual strengths and vulnerabilities. Rory is the kind of hero who doesn't give up, who fights till the bitter end and who fiercely loves. Sariad, the heroine of this tale, is courageous, loyal and a woman who has a will power to do difficult things. The four brothers of Sariad; Tiarnan, somewhat stubborn yet his own mistakes cut him soul deep, Eamonn is the man who I couldn't get a grasp on but in the end he showed his colors. Michael is the healer, a beta man who knows his value and Liam, the benjamin of twelve years old yet already very known with the ways of his world.
The cast of characters is rich like the mystery that plays an intricate role. I feel if I told a singular thing more than I already have regarding the plot that I'm already revealing too many significant plot points, so I'm not going to say much more. Rory travels through time which makes the setting a historic one in Ireland/Éire, he then faces the man he once called father and looks at The Bloodletter, who could be his twin. Both these two men reign havoc on the Kings of Ireland and their people. To say the mystery is incredibly well put together would be an understatement. In a gradual pace Erin Quinn allowed me to connect the dots and though it isn't an easy to follow mystery it still is one that demanded my utmost attention.
The Book of Fennore plays a huge role too, I read about its origin and how it constantly kept luring the characters to make use of it. It was a danger right alongside a man who lost his soul bit by bit in the past and who ultimately became an evil, power-hungry villain. He preyed on the clans, crushing them and their ways to leave desperate survivors in his wake. Those survivors were fighting against overwhelming odds but showcased their indomitable spirit. It was every aspect, the book, the villain, the truth Rory and Sariad had to uncover and a survival of Sariad's clan that all interconnected. While this book definitely had a few weaker moments when descriptions took too much pace out of the story it never lasted more than a few pages before I was fully grabbed again.
Another thing that really grabbed me was the romance, it was poignant, endearing and sweet, and completely fitting the characters Rory and Sariad are. I think at first it was trust issues that needed to work itself out between them which made the romance feel subdued to the plot at work. Still, unknowingly I was getting attached to these two unique characters that when the stakes were high I only wanted them safe, I only wanted their love to survive, not knowing whether Rory would return to his own time or not. The emotions are fierce between them, their passion made me sizzle while it isn't a large part of how the romance is voiced it all emphasized on the love growing between the two leading characters. The end was one that I didn't expect for Rory and Sariad but it worked like a charm and I closed the book with a very satisfied sigh.
Erin Quinn has a distinctive prose that appealed to me from the very first book I read from her hand. The story that rolled of the pages in HAUNTING WARRIOR breaths of old Irish mysticism, a love that stands through the test of time and characters you'll want to meet again!