On the frozen plains of Kassouk, a few aliens control a medieval Human world. Tora, a female warrior nicknamed White Tiger, seeks her father’s murderer. In the vortex of war, treason and intrigue, among blizzards, avalanches and ambushes, she faces the handsome Dragomir, the mysterious Mutant of legends. How dare he question her bloodline and her loyalties? And could a new enemy control the savage hordes of the fringe?
Tora must solve the mystery of her father’s death and unveil the secret of her birth. She suspects Dragomir knows more than he reveals. He welcomes her friendship and offers to help, although their budding attraction is punishable by death... Should Tora trust her mind, her instincts, or her heart? Can the star-crossed lovers escape and survive, to save their planet and fulfill their higher purpose?
The last daylight spread long shadows on the snow as the door opened on an impossibly tall, muscular man with shiny dark hair falling straight to the shoulders. His fine features included a high forehead, copper-tan skin, and a pair of compelling hazel eyes.
"I was hoping it would be you." A dazzling smile revealed pure white teeth. "Please come into the warmth of my humble home." He let her in and closed the door, eyes sparkling with intelligence, and something else she could not define.
"Do we know each other?" Tora had to ask, although she would never forget such a striking man.
"Not yet." He grinned. "Let me help you with your coat. It's warm in here."
Tora handed him her coat and hat, noticing the pleasant temperature of the room. The small fire burning in the hearth could not provide such even heat, but she saw no other fire. "This must be the most comfortable cottage in the village. I feel no draft at all."
The young man smiled as he spread Tora's fur by the fire. She removed her mittens, sat on the fur and accepted a bowl of hot kawa.
"Who are you?" Intrigued, Tora tried to sound neutral.
The striking man sat facing her. "My name is Dragomir. What might be yours?"
Unnerved by the stranger's nearness, Tora tried to collect her thoughts. Dragomir looked about twenty-five. His melodious voice, smooth skin, foreign look, the unique quality of the white clothes and the refinement of his manners screamed high nobility. This was no farmer.
"I'm Tora, White Tiger." She felt a strange vulnerability in his presence, as if he could read her most intimate thoughts. She had to steady her voice. "What are you doing here? This is a dangerous place to be alone. Bands of Zerkers have been spotted just south of here. When the lake freezes solid, their invading army will launch itself onto the plain."
"I know." Dragomir held her gaze. "I can see why they call you White Tiger."
"Really?" Amused at his pretense of knowing her, Tora settled on the fur. When she changed position, the jewel on her sword handle caught the light of the flames.
Dragomir reached for the hilt.
Hand on the sword, ready to draw, Tora froze. In the grip of his hand immobilizing hers, she sensed great physical strength. For an instant, their eyes locked, then Dragomir relaxed but didn't move. Tora now stared at the offensive hand covering hers. It had six fingers like hers!
She'd never met anyone else with six fingers. Who or what was this man? What was she, for that matter? Questions filled Tora's mind but her throat constricted, and she couldn't talk.
Seemingly undisturbed, Dragomir removed his hand then casually opened his silky shirt on a muscled, hairless chest. Tora skipped a breath. On the smooth copper skin hung a faceted gem, a twin to that on her sword hilt. Unhooking the scabbard, she brought the hilt to the light. Same size, same cut, same azure brilliance, same silver heart in the center...
Dragomir's eyes flashed. "Where did you get it?"
Challenged, Tora finally found her voice. "It was my mother's. Where did you get yours?" she asked, a little too eager. "I've never seen another one before. I was told it was the work of the Godds." Barely containing her excitement, Tora hoped she would learn something about her mother.
"I received mine from the proper source." Dragomir looked grave, older despite a youthful face. "But I can't tell you about it."
Tora had no patience for games. "You can, but you won't. What are you hiding, Dragomir? You are obviously no peasant, so who are you?"
"A man on a mission." He looked away.
Tora sighed. "I wouldn't doubt it. Whose side are you on?"
"There are more than two sides to this war, Tiger." Dragomir raised one eyebrow and took a sip of kawa. "Do you know which side you fight for?"
Posted by Sally Pink Reviews on 24th Feb 2013
Schartz has created a world rich in futuristic mythology with "White Tiger," Book One in the Chronicles of Kassouk. Tora is a human soldier whose loyalty to the Emperor is without question. As she follows Field Marshall Killion to war, she meets a man called Dragomir who challenges all that she knows to be true about the world.
The novel is set on the plant of Kassouk. The plant's natural climate is Arctic. Humans settled there after leaving a decimated Earth. They know the planet as New Earth.
The Godds have also come to Kassouk, but it's obvious they are an alien race. There are no female Godds so they mate with human females called Valshas. Their children are known as mutants. The Godds provide for the humans, but they also have enemies – the Reptoids. When the Reptoids shoot down the weather satellite that controls the weather, the climate on Kassouk becomes frigid. The Godds prepare to leave, but only after harvesting their female mutant children's eggs.
Tora, daughter of a great general, realizes there is change in the air when the satellite is shot down. The Reptoids and Zerkers pursue the humans of Kassouk, and so Tora takes her company White Tiger, and follows Field Marshall Killion's army into battle.
Along the way, she meets Dragomir, a man who ignites the more passionate, baser emotions in her. Dragomir confesses to be a mutant, but harbors secrets. He warns Tora of a human traitor and leaves after the couple share a forbidden night of passion.
Can Tora find the traitor to the human race and rekindle the love she shared with Dragomir.
Schartz's writing is crisp, original, and filled with creativity. The plot is smooth, action-packed, and moves fast.
"White Tiger" uses a good economy of words to explain the rich mythology and exotic locales of Kassouk without weighing down the reader.
The novel has a strong supporting cast that quickly endears itself to the reader. Driana is a loyal friend, Leah is a clever and beautiful mutant, Phaleg is the fierce Reptoid leader, and Khor and Kasil are the heartless Godds.
Dragomir is honest and loyal, brave in the face of adversity. His only weakness is his love for Tora. Tora is also loyal to her beliefs and exhibits a courage to be admired.
The love scenes are sensual and tasteful. From the first page to the last, "White Tiger" will take the reader for a breathless ride filled with action, adventure, myths, and love.