I told my friend Smitty that sometimes I need the literary equivalent of a toasted cheese sandwich. It’s not particularly good for your body, but sometimes it comforts the soul. “Morrigan’s Cross,” by Nora Roberts falls into that category. It combines magic, time-travel and vampyres. The first two are things I really like for a good escape and the last is how I got turned on the Anne Rice before she found religion.
At this point there will be some eye rolling and moving on. If you’re still with me you probably know that Nora Roberts is best known for her high end Romances. They aren’t in the Harlequin category, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I don’t read her as a steady diet.
Several years ago I picked up Roberts’ “Three Sisters Island Trilogy” because it had a sprinkling of magic in it, like she was testing the waters. Maybe she thought that if “Harry Potter” hadn’t been thrown on too many piles of flaming books, a little magic for the grown-ups would fly. “Morrigan’s Cross” is definitely a “happy meet” book. If Roberts is not a practicing Wiccan, she’s done her homework well. Not only does the novel (the first of a trilogy) have magic, it has time-travel and vampyres. Stephanie Miller certainly has given vampyres a shot in the arm. The young adult section is full of them. I would have been satisfied with the magic, delighted to have the time-travel as an addition, but the addition of vampyres seemed unnecessary at first, but as I got into it I saw how they fit. Instead of our witch heroine fighting some hussy for the attentions of her 15th century sorcerer love, they are fighting vampyres with a host of magical companions including the sorcerer’s vampyre brother.
If I had a complaint about this book, which is the first in a new trilogy, it would be that the characters who are Irish do not sound Irish. I want to hear a brogue. The story is good enough that I need to find out what happens and have ordered the next installment, “Dance of the Gods.”