This is the second in David's Fuel to the Fire fantasy series. I've enjoyed them both immensely.
Ruler's Desire (Fuel to the Fire)
Amazon.com Ruler's Desire (Fuel to the Fire)
My review -
We are once again in the twin worlds we entered in Fuel to the Fire and the barrier between them is weakening, potentially allowing evil to swamp and totally overwhelm good. Davran, the girl brought up disguised as a boy, is pivotal in fulfilling an old prophecy. She returns to her `dark' world with Ronyn, her dragon trainer friend, to her family who thought she was dead. She needs to persuade the downtrodden people that hatred is fuelling the Ruler Saurian's power, and they must refuse to hate. Unfortunately, Saurian manipulates them and tries to persuade Davran to fall in love with him and rule with him. The story builds to a great climax and there are enough dangling threads to ensure that David Staniforth will be able to continue this tale into at least another book.
The writing contains some clever and powerful imagery, lovely descriptions and a thoughtful take on love, hatred, power and manipulation in ruling and swaying a people. I was particularly taken by the concept of The Unfortunates, those who are not truly, peacefully dead, because they took their own lives. There is much debate about whether fighting justly in a hopeless cause is actually suicide. You can't win, but you haven't despaired. Saurian uses the fear of becoming an Unfortunate as a tool to oppress the people; to prevent their rebellion. I have really enjoyed both these books in the Fuel to the Fire series. I would heartily recommend them to anyone who enjoys thoughtful and beautifully written fantasy tales.