Immortal Desire
Maggie Shayne
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East meets West across time and tradition as three young American women and their Indian immigrant mothers take first steps toward true sisterhood, shattering secrets and sharing joy and tears in Maggie Shayne's
Immortal Desire

Buy *Immortal Desire* by Maggie Shayne online

Immortal Desire
Maggie Shayne
Berkley Sensation
352 pages
December 2007
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Immortal Desire is the follow up to the recentlypublished book Eternal Love, which contained the novellas "Infinity" and "Eternity", set in the world of the High Witches with their immortality. Immortal Desire continues this theme with a longer story, "Destiny", and then the fairly short "Immortality". These books have all been published before but are brought together and reissued in these two books.

"Destiny" works very well as a standalone story. It's not necessary to have read the previous stories to follow the action, although one or two nuances, as well as some characters, aren't explained completely. This story follows Nidaba, who was mentioned a great deal in "Eternity" as a four-thousand-year-old woman whose mind was perhaps letting go. We meet Nidaba in this story after she has just committed suicide by jumping from a high building - only to recover in the ambulance, be drugged, then kept in a mental asylum. When Nathan Ian King sees her photograph in the newspaper with the question "who is this woman?", he is sure he knows who she is - only that she died four and a half thousand years ago. He goes to investigate and discovers that she is indeed Nidaba, Priestess of Inanna, who was his childhood playmate and only real love when he was the King of Lagesh in ancient Sumer.

With the help of two of his friends, Nathan rescues Nidaba from the mental asylum and cares for her at his home, trying to help her to recover from her catatonic state. When she does, they have a lot of history to cover - they both have much for which to be forgiven. The novel takes place in two times in history: modern-day sections when Nathan is caring for Nidaba, and the historical sections where Eannatum and Nidaba are growing up and learning to love each other in ancient Sumer. The Sumerian sections are interesting and reasonably accurate.

Of course, there is a 'baddie' in this book: Nathan's former wife, Puabi, who is trying to get Nidaba's heart to extend her own immortality and to finally pay back her old, old adversary. We also briefly meet Arianna and Nicodimus from "Eternity," but most of the action is between Nathan/Eannatum and Nidaba. It's an interesting story, and the historical sections in Sumer add a great deal to the story, but somehow it never really completely drew in this reader to the world described. Four stars.

This is a much shorter story and, rather surprisingly, has as its heroine the evil murderess Puabi of the previous book. When Puabi escapes from Nathan's burning house, she casts herself into the sea and expects, eventually, to use up all her lives and to drown. However, she is fished out of the sea by a man who takes her to his island to care for her. Matthew Fairchild is taking some time out from his work to deal with the consequences of the death of his fiancee and unborn child; when he meets Puabi he is shocked by her physical similarity to his dead fiancee, Gabriella, although their natures could not be more different. The two talk, spar and eventually uncover their secrets, although Matthew doesn't believe Puabi is really a Sumerian Queen who's over four thousand years old. When Matthew's personal assistant tries to kill them, they both discover a shocking secret and Puabi is given another chance to atone for her sins.

This story starts off reasonably enough, and I was interested to see how the author would deal with the fact that her heroine is incredibly anti-heroic, having killed lots of people, including two in the previous story. I was rather disappointed that this aspect of Puabi's nature isn't really discussed, just that Puabi is making a fresh start. The events toward the end of this story are too far-fetched to enable this reader to really go along with it, and I felt it was all rather a cop-out. Two stars.

This book is a reasonable read because of the first story, which has the lion's share of the book, and it will definitely appeal to those who liked the previous book in this series. It isn't in any way outstanding in a crowded genre, however, and the stories didn't inspire me to read them again.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Helen Hancox, 2008

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