The Fire Rose
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2010)|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|LC Class||PS3562.A246 F57 1995|
|Followed by||The Serpent's Shadow|
The Fire Rose (1995) is a fantasy novel written by Mercedes Lackey and part of her Elemental Masters series. It is set in Chicago and San Francisco around the turn of the 20th century and is based on Beauty and the Beast.
A young medieval scholar named Rosalind Hawkins (Rose for short), is left penniless after her father's death. A professor and mentor from the college she attended tells Rose that she received a letter from a railroad tycoon named Jason Cameron, looking for a governess for his two children. Rose, fitting all the qualifications and having no other options, accepts the job and travels by train to his manor outside San Francisco.
But when she arrives at the secluded country home of Jason Cameron, her new employer, she finds that he has no wife or children, and the only person she ever sees is his secretary, Paul du Mond, to whom she takes an instant dislike. Rose learns that Cameron has hired her to translate ancient texts to him, as a mysteriously referred-to accident has rendered him unable to conduct his research. Therefore, she is to spend her nights reading archaic and magical texts to Cameron through a speaking tube. After several days, Rose begins to realize that the large mansion is well taken care of, though she sees no servants other than Paul. After reading a book on magic, she becomes suspicious, as well as a little afraid. She confronts Jason and discovers that he is an Elemental Master of Fire and the house is tended by fire-spirits called salamanders.
After a visit to San Francisco, Rose is called into Jason's room by a salamander. There she discovers Jason's secret, that he is half man, half wolf, due to a botched lycanthropy spell. Rose is horrified at first, but she overcomes her initial fear and becomes accustomed to her employer's appearance. Jason begins to depend more heavily on Rose, and less on Paul du Mond. The reader learns that Paul is Jason's apprentice in magick. As Jason grows closer to Rose, a rift grows between Jason and Paul, leading Paul to become dangerously jealous of Rose. Rose learns that her own Magical nature is that of Air and, after becoming Jason's apprentice, calls up an air-elemental sylph. Unbeknownst to each other, they begin to fall in love.
Meanwhile, Paul allies himself with another fire master, Simon Beltaire, who is evil and Jason's nemesis. Beltaire and Paul both subscribe to dark magic, often using violence or drugs or both in order to enhance their natural magical abilities. Beltaire is also seen using young immigrant women, forced into sexual slavery, as his victims. Paul attempts to kidnap Rose for a spell. However, she fights back and Jason kills Paul in a violent rage. Jason quickly sends Rose away, fearing that the wolf nature is superseding his humanity. In confusion, Rose flees to San Francisco. But rather than going back to Chicago, Rose remains in San Francisco to think over her situation and seek the advice of a local Earth Master, Master Pao. Simon Beltaire unsuccessfully attempts to persuade Rose to help him against Jason. Shortly afterwards, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 occurs. Beltaire tries to force Rose's cooperation but Jason intervenes. The two Fire Masters engage in battle, and Jason's salamanders are vastly outnumbered by Beltaire's forces. Rose asks the sylphs to help Jason and the two Elements combined manage to defeat Beltaire. Two Chinese elemental masters, Master Ho and Master Pao, friends of Jason, help Rose and Jason back to Jason's home. Master Ho, the air master, and also an ordained minister, marries Rose and Jason.