This was an awesome insight into the beginnings of Den Asaan Rautu’s parents. Another fantastic book from Michelle Franklin, her style of writing is unlike no other and so easy to read. I find myself unable to put it down, it is so enjoyable.Khantara is the title given to a magnificent warrior and lord of war. Khantara and his 3 students embark on a journey to the mainland to conquer the Thellisians once and for all. Upon arriving, Khantara’s stature and his intense attitude towards the villager’s makes things go along simply enough. The Haanta people are setting up an outpost and have started construction on barracks, a temple and Khantara’s abode. Khantara is very concerned for his people and would rather the stonemason complete the temple or barracks before finalizing his home. Alas, this didn’t happen and the stonemason has to undertake the wrath of Khantara! Needless to say, the temple and barracks didn’t take long to be completed. One afternoon after celebrations had begun; Khantara went for a peaceful walk. Not far down the road he overheard an argument between a man and a woman. Khantara hid in the shadows to witness the disagreement and to intervene if need be. The man left the woman and headed into the village, leaving the woman alone and upset because of his departure. Khantara approached the woman, trying not to startle her and questioned after her feelings. Khantara took a quick assessment of her home and surroundings only to find a mark upon her neck. Anelta explained that the mark is that of a slave and in Thellis she is called one of the Marked. Her husband is responsible for supplying shelter and food, but only when he likes. Anelta is starved and has few possessions. Khantara takes it upon himself to check on Anelta the following day and finds her trying to barter her dresses for money in the marketplace. He again goes under the darkness of the shadows and follows her. Khantara takes Anelta’s difficulty to heart and decides that he will take Anelta away from this way of life.This is a beautiful love story; I really got into the feelings of Khantara and his amazing way with words. The other parts I really enjoyed were his 3 students or commanders and their brother like mannerisms. The way they carried on and became concerned for their leader was awesome and I had a laugh on several occasions. The way Michelle describes Khantara and Anelta’s lovely beginning was marvelous.