Bantam, Aug 2003, 5,99, 358 pp.
In 1837, Akoran aristocrat Gavin Hawkforte travels to the deserted island of Deimatros where Deilos the traitor tried to murder the prince's parents. However, he is shocked to be greeted by a woman with a pistol. Persephone informs him that she lives on Deimatros. She asks why he is here and he responds that he has come to conduct measurements of geological points to compare to a century old survey. Persephone in turn explains that the three millennia dormant volcano that once destroyed much of the Akoran archipelago is awakening.
As she takes him into a cave still open to him show the lava flow, Persephone says she lived here most of her life with her self-exiled mother, who died a few years ago. As Gavin and Persephone work together to try to stop a natural disaster from happening, they fall in love. However, she has a secret concerning her lack of family that makes it impossible for anything permanent to occur between them once he learns the truth.
Though another tour of reading duty at Akora may seem tedious with the fifth trip to the island paradise, Josie Litton keeps it fresh with a twist that brings the series full circle (though the next tale seems already set up). The story line focuses on to how to stop or impede the upcoming natural disaster almost as much as it does on the historical romance between the lead protagonists. Fans of Akora and those Xenos among the audience will appreciate another Akoran stamp on their passport even if it is mostly a return to the deserted isle of the caves.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner