In an anthology of four stories that support her Celta series, Robin Owens leads her readers to learn more about this alien planet founded by humans fleeing earth. She masterfully blends the mystic of this nation with the familiarity of Wiccan beliefs. This anthology is a great introduction for readers who are not familiar with her stories or Celta. Each story adds to the understanding of this planet and the way of life that exists there.
In the first story, “Heart and Sword”, we learn what happened on the journey to find a safe place to colonize all those years ago. Kelse Bounty is awakened from his cryogenic state to learn that the ship is in mutiny and it is 150 years later than he originally thought he would awaken. He must do everything he can to captain the ship, find a safe planet for them to land on and roust the mutineers. His job is complicated since he must also insure the safety of Fern, his wife.
In the second story, “Heart Story” which takes place 406 years after the first, we learn more about how the Celta society has developed and are introduced to HeartMates, two people fated to be together. Dri Paris and Arbusca Willow turned their backs on their HeartMate bond years ago; can they now make things work?
In the third story, “Heart and Soul” which takes place a year after the second story, we meet Genista Furze who is the first woman of rank to get a divorce. She has lost a child and her husband. Genista is trying to make it on her own working in a clock shop repairing clocks. She doesn’t know what to make of the attraction she feels towards her neighbor, Cardus Parryl. Will she be able to love again?
Four years later, the final story, “Noble Heart”, takes place. In this story, Walker Clover learns that he is not who he thought he was. His birth mother was a Noble and he has inherited psi powers from her. This changes the entire course of his life. Now he is the head of the family and his decisions impact their future. Will Sedwy Grove be able to help him find the right path?
I was not familiar with the world of Celta prior to reading these stories and found that each one offered me a different insight into that world. I learned a little bit about the culture and the history of the world in each story. This was a great way to learn about the Celta world. I know that I can pick up any book in the series and have an understanding of what that place is about and how it came to be. If you are not familiar with it, you may also want to read this anthology first before jumping into one of the full length books.
Each story centered on compelling individuals who found romance in unexpected places. The stories were solidly told and moved quickly. At times, I forgot I was reading short stories since they all seemed so full of detail and action. They moved quickly without feeling as though part of the story was missing.