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Mistress of Table Rock

Title: Mistress of Table Rock
Author:R. Casteel

Published in June 2003 by Ellora's Cave
Genre: Futuristic/Sci-Fi
IBSN: 1-84360-509-0

Scott Mathis knew his life would never be the same after that fateful date: September 11, 2001. The state of Pennsylvania held a marker with some names. In a lonely, rural field...on a sunny September morning, he lost his wife and child in a terrible twist of fate. The marker, that stood in that now unscarred field, did nothing to ease the ache and emptiness he still felt inside. He knew that nothing could take the place of the family he lost, so he kept the fond memories and the pain, and got rid of the rest of his old life. This is his coping mechanism, his way of hiding from the bleakness he lives each day, the void their deaths left in his life. It is the only way he could keep going, the only way he feels he can atone for what he saw then, and still thinks of as his neglect.

He looks at nature in much the same way as he viewed his family. That is one reason that he has come to Table Rock. The pristine waters of the lake are hiding a garbage pit, and he is determined to draw attention to the problems that the junk-filled waters can cause. Clear Lakes is his attempt at drawing awareness to the pollution problem and it is working very, very well. The media always shows up at the place where he dives, and the divers from all over come to join him. He uses his abilities, and his skills the only way he knows how, yet he takes many chances in the completion of his self-assigned tasks. Whether he wants to admit it or not, Scott is searching for something...a reason to live?

Aleecia Fields loves Table Rock and the isolation, and anonymity it affords her. She had been solitary for a long time, driven by time and circumstances to avoid the mainstreams of civilization. It has been a lonely life at times, but at least she is alive and free to live it as she wishes. She is an enigma to all she meets, and none have gotten close to learn her secrets. Her life and safety seem to have always been in jeopardy, and she has been constantly on the run. This is the first place that she has felt any semblance of safety in a long while, and it is one of the few places she has lived that really felt like home. The cabin she has called home is old, but is isolated and yet protected. It is a special place, and she has really come to love it very much.

What Aleecia hasn't counted on is the unexpected attraction that she feels for Scott, the charismatic diver who has come to help clean up Table Rock Lake, or the unexpected jealousy shown by her supervisor, Gary. Circumstances are changing quickly, and as danger draws ever closer, Aleecia wonders where fate is leading her. Time is now at a premium, and the decisions must be made. Can she risk her heart, and her life to love this one special person? Will he understand or turn away in horror at her mutation? Will he stand with her, or is she being a fool and putting them both into greater danger?

Rod Casteel has given us a book that combines the best traits of mystery, science fiction, and suspense with a sensual romance that will touch the heart of every reader. Mistress of Table Rock takes you on a journey of exploration with Scott and Aleecia as your guides. Time and circumstances have dealt both of them emotional blows, and the wounds run deep. Rod takes us into the shady, sheltered area where shared pain is healed and although there are still problems to overcome, the myriad possibilities are there, and tantalizingly real. This is the place where Scott and Aleecia meet, and where they start to develop their relationship, and first form the ties that just may carry them through the troubled waters ahead.

From the serenity of Table Rock Lake to the secrecy of a genetics program gone wrong, Rod leads us carefully through the morass of tangled emotions and back into the light. Mistress of Table Rock has all the mystery, suspense, and excitement of an adventure, but enough romance to satisfy the most demanding romantic tastes. Great characters are a hallmark of a Casteel book, and Mistress of Table Rock is no exception. There is a lot to be said for this book in the way of accuracy as well as imagination. The author, being a diver himself, can attest to many of the facts, but adds his own touches, maybe wishes, to the tale. Not only are his characters themselves well developed, but they are varied, and feel as true and alive as if oyu could meet them on the street. As the hero and heroine of the story, Scott and Aleecia are perfect, lending themselves to the situations with grace and an uncanny ability. Ellora's Cave has this special story available for you now. I just know Mistress of Table Rock is another wonderful read from R Casteel that you won't want to, and can't afford to miss.

Yours in good reading,


Rod Casteel

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