Servant of the Gods -Valerie Douglas
Chapter one of Servant of the Gods by indie author Valerie Douglas begins this tale with one of the most moving and dramatic beginnings that I have ever read. I couldn’t wait to begin reading the story of how the Egyptian Priestess Irisi came to such a moment her story.
Chapter two takes up with her memories, beginning with events which happened when she was a child of eleven years of age, and was a shepherd girl named Eres. Her village has been attacked. Now she is orphaned, and taken in by the druids who raise her to be a warrior. She becomes a mercenary soldier. Her travels as a mercenary lead her to participating in a battle against Egypt, where she ends up on the losing side. This leads to her meeting the love of her life, Khai, in battle. He captures her, but sees beauty in her as both a warrior and a woman.
To spare her being harshly used by others, he temporarily takes her as his servant. Despite Khai’s wishes to the contrary she is sold at an auction to the court magician, an evil man named Kamenwati. He chooses to use her as a gladiator, but eventually he plans to make her his sexual servant and use her in an arcane and evil ceremony. He orders her to kill in cold blood, something she is loathe to do. She will fight an opponent in honorable battle but only to first blood or disarmament. To kill in cold blood is murder and is punishable by death, moreover she does not want to do such a thing. It would place her in Kamenwati’s power even more firmly than she is.
To avoid having to commit murder in Kamenwati’s service, Eres offers her swords to the gods, in the hope that they will find her acceptable. She is accepted as a priestess by Isis, and given the name Irisi which means ‘fashioned by the gods’. Needless to say, her master Kamenwati is livid that she has escaped the fate he had planned for her, and he vows that he will reclaim ‘his property’ one way or another.
While at an audience with the Pharaoh she once again meets Khai, and thwarts an assassination attempt, engineered by the evil vizier Kamenwati who intends to be the next Pharaoh.
Kamenwati is secretly the servant of the God Set, who is the god of evil, chaos and war. He has also made a bargain with a Djinn, a very powerful demon. An army of Djinn is poised to conquer Egypt, and Set will be the only God.
For several years, Irisi and Khai do not act on their mutual attraction, as Kamenwati would certainly punish them, and he is too strong for Irisi to defeat.
The Djinn that Kamenwati has called attack Egypt and Khai and Irisi are brought together, often enough that others begin to notice how they look at each other. Eventually, they do become lovers, but they are very discrete, keeping their relationship a secret from Kamenwati.
This is high adventure. Khai is a romantic and sexy hero, and Irisi is a strong woman who never forgets that she is a woman. She never competes in battle with men by trying to be a man. She is a female warrior, and proud to be so. There are some very graphic scenes, both of violence and of sex, and frankly there is quite a bit of both. Still, I would recommend this as an adult book because the story is so compelling.
I am looking forward to reading more works by Valerie Douglas in the future.