Emma Holly’s novella “Queen of All She Surveys” appears in the erotic romance antho Beyond the Dark. If you’re not comfortable reading lots of sex, don’t buy this book. That being said, I really enjoyed Ms. Holly’s story.
“Queen of All She Surveys” technically belongs in her “Demon” universe, although there is very little mention of it beyond the extraordinary endurance and desires of the protagonists. Beyond that, this is a love story, and that’s why it’s so satisfying. No, really.
Holly handles the sex scenes beautifully as always, but what makes the novella work is the growing respect and affection between protagonists who start as enemies. It’s a cliched set-up. She’s the ruler of the neighboring kingdom (closely patterned after the Upper and Lower kingdoms of ancient Egypt) and he is a prince given in ransom for captured troops.
I won’t lie. Part of the pleasure of reading this story is the titillation factor. But Holly is a top player in this sub-genre and she doesn’t stop there. The characters have pasts and friends, and lives beyond the bedroom.
Erotic romance has been increasing in popularity for several years now thanks to the ebook market. Then the New York publishers got on board too. For the first few years some of it wasn’t very well written, but that’s changing as the market grows more competitive. As with any genre, some authors are better than others, but in my opinion, Emma Holly is among the best. As a writer, I quibble with some of her choices, but I still highly recomend her “Demon” stories.