What a great read! Soul of Fire, this book's predecessor, was enjoyable, but I had some reservations about it (the heroine ended up with the wrong man, which doesn't make for an entirely satisfying book). Soul of Fire, the second book in the series, is even better, an excellent read.
In a slightly alternate history where magic, flying carpets and were-creatures are part of normal life but
real historical events have taken place (although perhaps for different reasons),
Hoyt's story takes place in British India under the reign of Queen Victoria. Our hero is Peter Farewell, a were-dragon, whom we met in Heart of Light.
This lonely man has been entrusted with the task of finding the jewel called "Soul of Fire," having already assisted in the recovery of the Heart of Light.
Peter has been searching India for six months without success. When his chivalrous nature requires him to rescue a maiden in distress, he
is plunged into unexpected events as various people try to get their hands on the Soul of Fire, which apparently belongs to the maiden, Sofie Warington. Sofie is trying to escape an enforced marriage to a were-tiger, but it becomes clear that the were-tigers want her for more nefarious reasons than marriage. Can Peter keep her safe, despite the dangerous nature of his dragon side? Is there more to Sofie's maidservant and her companions than Sofie realizes?
The story unfolds from several viewpoints, including a slightly separate plot thread narrated by a British officer trying to avoid a repeat of the 1857 Sepoy rebellion as well as discovering some truths about himself. The plot is good, but
the characterization is particularly well-written. Hoyt portrays Peter Farewell
fully; we feel, alongside him, his loneliness and fears about his were-nature. Sofie is appealing, too, young and sometimes foolish but overall with a great heart and bravery.
The Indian setting, even the slightly magical India of this fantasy, is also convincing, even if the British characters very occasionally slip into American dialogue.
Although it appears the series will continue, Soul of Fire does draw to a satisfactory close. I am certainly looking forward to the next
entry in this series, which appears to be improving as it continues.