Black Jaguar
Black Jaguar by Vijaya Schartz is the third book in the Chronicles of Kassouk series.

Kahuel, one of the children of the ruling family of Yalta, decided to give up his wild ways to prove his worth to his parents. Unfortunately, the trip wasn't given much importance and they are relegated to traveling on a ship and Kahuel hates sailing. Kahuel's brother and future ruler of Yalta, Basilk, is the captain of their ship, the Galleon, and loves nothing better than the challenge the sea gives them. They learn that a typhoon is headed their way and not even the advanced technology of the mutants can save them. Kahuel knows that they are on the trip to assist Princess Esperana, a mutant, but what they are looking for isn't up for discussion. Basilk somehow manages to get the ship to land, but many people lost their lives, including Basilk. Kahuel's people with little help from the mutants set up a camp and scout their surroundings. Back home, Kahual's and Princess Esperana's families can't believe that the ship would vanish without a trace, leaving them to wonder what is behind their disappearances. Kahuel goes with his companion, his panther Diablo, and when he senses he is being watched the two find a young woman, Talina, who captivates Kaheul with her beauty and spirit. Diablo approaches her without pause, which is highly unusual. Talina is frightened when Kahuel refuses to answer her call to mind talk and runs away telling her brother Vanaru about the humans. Things begin to spiral out of control when Talina's people, the Chosen, choose to begin the Star Chant for help from their gods, the Star People, but what they learn could change not only their lives, but those of the others stranded on their island.

Ms. Schartz has continued her spellbinding series with this fast paced story that ensnared me from the very start. I love how the Chosen people are looked upon as simplistic, but some of their abilities rival any of the technology that the mutants hold so tightly. The Star People, or Estrell, are not as they seem, but will their hidden addenda be revealed in time? Talina and Kahuel's attraction was instantaneous, but are the differences in culture too big to overcome? Kahuel takes on the burden of leadership and with Talina's help he begins to understand that their differences are not as important as what they have in common. I enjoyed watching the interaction of the humans with their feline friends and how they would do anything to protect each other. The visual descriptions of the jungle scenes brought them to life for this reader. I for one can't wait for the next book in the Chronicles of Kassouk series.

Reviewed by: Teresa