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Please make sure to read the EXPLANATORY NOTES before reading these reviews.

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**ORIGINS by M. Parnell
I cannot BEGIN to tell you how FANTASTIC this story is!!!! With each new chapter you will be more amazed, more on the edge of your seat, more enthralled than ever before. This is writing at ITS BEST! ORIGINS simply put is a masterpiece - and I'm not just referring to a good fan fiction tale here - this novel easily stands out among the best commercial fiction I've ever read as well. If the decision is ever made to make a XWP feature film - THIS should be it. The story begins as a personal quest of Xena's to discover the truth about her father. Before it is over the lives of countless will be changed, the future of a kingdom and possibly the whole of Greece will be decided, a new type of government will be born whose influence will reach through the ages, and the fates of a warrior and a bard will be forever altered. The final installments in Parnell's saga are a tour-de-force as all the players in this intricate tapestry of a story finally come together to witness in all her glory the wonder and the terror that is Xena of Amphipolis - a warrior princess reborn. Throughout the story Xena faces some of the toughest challenges of her life with none perhaps tougher than the battle against the longing in her heart for a certain green-eyed bard. Refusing to face the pain and fear the bard stirs deep within her, Xena immerses herself in what she knows best - the quest for power, the quest to conquer the hearts of men, the quest to conquer the soul of a city and the loyalty of an army. The Xena that emerges is a riddle to her enemies and friends alike as they struggle to understand the incredible events unfolding before their eyes, not sure whether to fear the warrior or admire the woman. Motivated by a love that will not die, only one dares to challenge the veil of secrecy in which Xena cloaks herself, determined to understand what is driving the Warrior Princess and toward what outcome she is headed. It is a quest which will reveal the true origins of what Xena is and all that her life has been as she accepts her role in finally bringing to an end a drama started long ago when immortals touched the lives of the warriors whose blood now runs through her veins. Parnell's depiction of the Xena/Gab relationship and the characterizations themselves in this novel are simply phenomenal - very deep, very psychological. The plot is among the most complicated you will ever read but so well-structured and so "tight" that it remains clear, with each chapter just drawing you into the next. One of the most intriguing aspects of Parnell's style is that she gives NOTHING away. This is one tale where the mysteries and the true motivations of the various characters aren't revealed 'til the very end. In XWP fan fiction ORIGINS is the ultimate experience. If you haven't guessed by now this story is a MUST READ! and carries my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!!! [See the sequel TARTARUS] - 362 pgs., 4/3/97.

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