The Highlord's Daughter [Book 3 in the Highlord of Darkness Series]
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by Christine W. Murphy
Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Description: The Highlord of Darkness finally has his male heir, and a daughter, but if Narragan has anything to say about it, neither of them will follow in his footsteps. With the galaxy no longer at war and Orgon on the road to full membership in the Triden Empire, Narragan is working to end the traditions that require the Highlord to be the Evil One. But forces off and on the planet are plotting to bring an end to Narragan's reign, and both he and his son are targeted. Narragan may want to believe that his teenage daughter is still just his little girl, but Ally has hidden strengths. Are they enough to save Orgon and her father's sanity? [Cover art Dirk A. Wolf]
eBook Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory, 2006
eBookwise Release Date: February 2006
17 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [736 KB]
Reading time: 491-687 min.
"Christine W. Murphy, the author of The Highlord's Daughter, Book 3, Highlord of Darkness Series paints a picture in the mind of warriors gathering for a great battle during peacetime. Orgon was a very rich planet ready for the taking. The characters and drama of the series will take the reader deep into a great adventure of action- filled heroic deeds and true love-filled moments that will cause a few tears to fall. 5 stars"--Wanda Maynard, Sime- Gen Reviews
"What an intriguing end to a fascinating look into an alternate world. Ms. Murphy continues with the rich characters and language that helped her stand apart from other authors of this genre in the beginning two books. Allowed to take their story to it's natural climax, the characters are drawn true to the life that Ms. Murphy has developed for them. There is a great deal of romance in The Highlord's Daughter, the romance of various couples as well as the romance of an exciting well-written adventure. All of the earlier characters have returned, most in their previous roles. Ms. Murphy does an exceptional job of bring her characters to life. Christine W. Murphy does a fine job explaing her world through descriptive phrases and actions. She rarely has to use the author's technique of laying out her world through the things that the characters say. I would imagine that a great deal of research went into this novel. The Highlord's Daughter was a fun read for me. I expect that that will be the case for those of you who enjoy swashbuckling romance and worlds different than our own."--Masha, Romance Designs
"The Highlord's Daughter is a wonderful science fiction/fantasy that is full of action, adventure and some good old-fashioned romance! I was enthralled by this world that Christine Murphy set before me of telepaths, blockers, warriors, maidens and villains. Through the trials and tribulations that descend upon The Highlord's City, we meet many people along the way, all of which add to the story in one way or another. I applaud Ms. Murphy's ability to bring all of these characters together so smoothly, and in such a way that I never became confused over the characters. Quite simply, I was so taken with this story that I followed every character with no problem whatsoever. Christine W. Murphy is an extremely talented author, and those looking for a great science fiction/fantasy romance with something for everyone should pick up The Highlord's Daughter. Top pick"--Kristal Gorman, Romance Reader at Heart
"This third book in an on-going series is a wonderful ride for fans of character-driven science fiction adventure. It may leave hard SF lovers cold, though, because much of the plotting depends on elements which cross over into fantasy. Author Murphy has created an intricate future universe, imagined in such detail that I found it easy to believe this universe real. Her characters, villains as well as heroes, are multidimensional even when they play relatively minor roles. Murphy does a particularly good job of making the story accessible to a reader coming in at the tale's third installment. I thoroughly enjoyed the read."--Nina M. Osier, My Shelf Reviews
NARRAGAN ENTERED THE communications vault at a little past midnight, the ideal time for the Highlord of Darkness to commune with offworld devils. The technicians didn't even blink when he entered the cramped metal room, a nice change from the incessant kowtowing that Narragan had to contend with in most of the Highlord's City. Here, he was the boss—an affectionate and accurate title employed by his offworld staff, who were under contract from worlds with political and religious structures more sensible than Orgon's.
Outside of this room Narragan was the incarnation of the Evil One, Lady Orgon's protector, the sentinel who stood against the devils who inhabited all space outside her gracious orbit. In short, on Orgon Narragan was supposed to bad. It was their religion.
Narragan accepted a vacated seat and a steaming mug of caffee guaranteed to keep him from getting any sleep before noon.
"Was she here?"
"Right on time, boss. Lady Diana made her usual drop to the Emperor and one to her father. You want to see 'em?"
"And offend the Emperor?" Narragan asked with an eyebrow raised.
The technician smirked. "Of course not, sir. I made a copy before applying diplomatic seals."
"In that case…" Narragan mumbled the rest of his sentence into his drink as he scrolled through the report displayed on the monitor. Nothing of interest except that Diana planned to ask for leave to take her son, Richard, to visit his grandfather. He would have to remember not to grant permission before she made her request. She likely realized that he read her correspondence, but he didn't want to rub her face in it.
Every ten days, she sent a chronology detailing the activities of the Highlord of Darkness, Supreme Ruler of Orgon. Diana's report to the Emperor was deadly dull as usual, not that she had to lie. Narragan had been on good behavior of late. So had Emperor Thane. The two rulers weren't on speaking terms, but they had learned to ignore each other despite Orgon's continued status as a protectorate of the Triden Empire.
Narragan snorted at his own delusions. He wasn't important enough these days to draw Thane's interest. Now that the Empire no longer consumed weapons' grade crystals by the shipload, Orgon warranted no more than a line in the Emperor's daily report—if she was mentioned at all.
Diana's report to Thane stated what Narragan wanted the Emperor to know. Thane could expect an increase in shipments of unprocessed, plant-based protein from Orgon, no ulterior motives involved other than the credits deposited into Narragan's offworld accounts. Trade in crystals, chocolates, wine and art would continue as before.
Included was the standard entry, "I have detected no long-range telepathic communications to or from Orgon," which was meant to reassure Emperor Thane of Narragan's continued telepathic impotence. Almost twenty years had passed since Narragan crossed the distance between stars and touched Diana's mind with his. Impossible for him to accomplish now, not that he wanted to.
"What about the Emissary?" Narragan asked. "Anything going through official channels?"
Narragan's questions elicited another smirk from the technician, who had learned more at his post about the workings of Orgon than he should. Officially, Diana worked for the Emperor and the Triden Emissary while she served as tutor for Narragan's children—Bowyn, who had exhibited telepathic talent since birth, and Allegra, who was delightfully lacking in telepathic arts. Narragan insisted that Diana work for his enemies as a condition of the sanctuary she claimed for herself and her son. The complicated arrangement required that she serve as double agent.
The technician reached across Narragan and brought up Diana's missive to her father. Narragan began skimming the message, shaking his head over the convoluted situation that had him reading her communiqués.
Narragan would have rather just begged her to stay, but their relationship had never been simple. Not until recently. The presence of Narragan's wife had simplified it almost out of existence.
Diana wanted to remain on Orgon to maintain control over what happened to her son, a budding telepath who held the Emperor's interest, but Narragan didn't want to risk another invasion by Triden troops should the Emperor, or Diana's husband, demand their return. By telling her to accept Emperor Thane's request to spy on Orgon's Highlord while posing as instructor to his heir, Narragan settled the matter to the satisfaction of almost everyone. Even Narragan's wife was pleased, as long as Diana limited her contact to their children's classroom and stayed out of the Highlord's bed.
Narragan blanked the screen when Diana's message to her father turned personal. The technician, whose name Narragan couldn't remember, pulled out his log sheet.
"In the open it's been a quiet week in Emperor Thane's neighborhood. Classified channels are full of chatter though."
"What kind of chatter?" Narragan left the chair to stretch his legs. At forty-five his body no longer took kindly to all-night walkabouts.
Copyright © 2006 Christine W. Murphy.