cover image The Tiger Prince

The Tiger Prince

Iris Johansen. Fanfare, $7.99 (528pp) ISBN 978-0-553-29968-7

Johansen offers sex but precious little romance in this adventure tale set in late-19th-century India and Scotland. Jane Barnaby and her guardian, Patrick Reilly, are on the subcontinent building a railroad. Jane has hidden John Kartauk, a brilliant goldsmith who has crossed Prince Abdar, the local maharaja's son. Abdar (who is no more than a generic villain) strikes a deal with Ruel MacClaren and his half-brother, Ian, a pair of Scottish adventurers, to seek out Jane and John. Ruel soon suspects that he'll do better casting his lot with his quarry, and he's right: when he agrees to help Jane get John out of Abdar's clutches, John hands Ruel the secret to dealing with the maharaja. Unfortunately the escape plan goes awry in a horrible accident. Ruel blames Jane for the fiasco, and Johansen devotes much of the rest of this book to Ruel's efforts to make her pay--efforts that reach their nadir in his two-day ``orgy of sexual indulgences,'' designed to debase and humiliate the woman he loves. It's hard to believe this is the same author who displayed such a splendid, light touch in The Wind Dancer. (Jan.)