by Ann Lawrence
Love Spell, July, 2002.
Paperback, 366 pages.
Virtual Heaven is a videogame store which is owned by business partners Neil Scott and Gwen Marlowe. One night, Gwen actually entered one of the virtual reality games called Tolemac Wars II. She barely escaped back to our world with her life (See, Virtual Desire), and warns Neil not to try to enter the game. Neil, who is devastated by his mother's death and his fiance's cruel departure, has nothing to live for, and ignores Gwen's advice. Replicating the mystical conditions that threw Gwen into the game, Neil finds himself inside Tolemac Wars III. But things don't go as he planned, at all. While saving the beautiful Ardra of the Fortress of Ravens from Outcasts, he is injured, knocked unconscious and his clothes and jewelry (that he brought to barter with) have been stolen. He finds that Ardra herself is in big trouble; her aging husband is dying and the local warlord is about to take over her lands. And no one seems to take him seriously as a warrior. So he puts on some (itchy) pilgrim's robes and decides to help Ardra in her difficulties. There is violence, sorcery and treachery in Ardra's world, and soon Neil is wondering if he will ever make it back home -- or live long enough to find a home in Tolemac.
Virtual Warrior is the third book in the Perfect Heroes series, after Virtual Heaven and Virtual Desire. Neil is a likeable and self-effacing hero who must rise to the occasion to become the warrior that Ardra needs in order to save her people, according to the law of that world. But Ardra is no shrinking violet; she is a warrior from the Ice Fields and feels capable to lead her people without the help of any man. Ann Lawrence is a very talented and clever writer (spell Tolemac backwards, for example), who has created an enchanting world of warriors, quests, and heartfelt romance.
Virtual Warrior is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the September, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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