Avon Books 1989
Sourcebooks 2008, 2010
Seize the Fire
Look for this beautiful NEW trade paperback cover (shown at left). This is a print re-issue at a special price, published by Sourcebooks.
Naval captain Sheridan Drake is no knight in shining armor, even if he has been knighted for heroism by the King. For him, an exiled princess with revolutionary ideas is just another opportunity to steal her jewels and get himself out of debt. Princess Olympia isn’t precisely fairy-tale royalty herself, she’s plump and a little shy, but she’s desperate to do something of importance in the world. From naive hero-worship to the darkest depths of Sheridan’s battered heart, Olympia must face demons she could never imagine in her dreams of glory.
Seize the Fire is also available as Print-On-Demand, a high-quality trade size paperback with the newly designed ebook cover shown at right.Discuss this book
England, Madeira, Falkland Islands, 1820’s
Napoleon the rockhopper penguin
“It was hell being a hero.” That was the sentence that set Sheridan’s character for me—the cynical anti-good guy. But then he’d do things like adopt an orphaned penguin. Probably it was this book that really boosted my reputation as creator of dark and tormented heroes, but his original inspiration was actually the hilarious lead of the Flashman books by George MacDonald Fraser. For those readers who can take a hero who will stoop to anything, and still remain somehow perversely appealing, Flashman is “The Man.” Sheridan did turn a little dark on me in the end. Turned out he had to have a reason for being what he was. The dedication to the combat vets of Vietnam at the end of the book says it all.
All About Romance Top Ten Hanky Reads - 2009
Romance Writers of America Golden Choice Award—Finalist, Best Romance of 1989
Romance Writers of America Rita Award—Finalist, Best Historical Romance of 1989
Laura's Fave Review:
“This book is an absolute gem, virtually flawless. No historical romance reader should miss it. I can’t find the words to praise it highly enough.” Rendezvous, August 1989.
(Can’t ask for better than that! Thank you! LK)
 Posted by laura kinsale on 01.08.2010
(Comments closed due to spam. Feel free to email me or make contact on Twitter or Facebook.) All opinions are welcome, positive or negative, but civility and polite language are required for comments to remain. Political or religious references are not allowed, unless directly related to the book under discussion. I do answer questions but I seldom give interpretations about my books or characters, because I enjoy hearing what readers see in them. These comments and discussions replace my old forum at The Terrace. WARNING: Book discussions may contain spoilers.
 Posted by Michelle on 01.15.2010
This is my all time favorite book, I’ve read and re-read it several times. I love the hero’s cynicism, humor, sexiness and his fate of doing the right thing despite himself. The chemistry between Olympia and Sheridan, and especially how their ability to drive each other nuts keeps you riveted. All of their adventures and tragedies build a true understanding between them, and I’m always sad when I turn the last page. The sign of a classic love story!
 Posted by Brooke on 01.15.2010
I have to agree with Michelle. Olympia and Sheridan are both fascinating and unusual protagonists, yet stunningly relatable and endearing. Plus any novel that can rock a penguin, a shipwreck, and a displaced princess—and still make me cry and squeal—is an unbelievably rare gem.
 Posted by Susan on 01.16.2010
My first Laura Kinsale book, and I was blown away by how amazing it was.
 Posted by Scorpio M. on 01.16.2010
I have to give this book a thorough re-read. It didn’t grab me as much as Laura’s other works initially yet, I keep seeing all this great reader feedback.
 Posted by Vikki Johnson on 01.22.2010
Yes! Definitely re-read it. And re-read it again and again, as I have. By far one of her finest!
 Posted by Lauren on 03.29.2010
I just finished this book for the first time this morning and had to post. I was enthralled from start to finish. It’s really an amazing achievement—the writing is so graceful even when grappling such complex and heady issues and far away locales. My only quibble? No epilogue! I would have loved to see Sheridan and Olympia more at peace, although the ending as it is is also quite beautiful. Thanks for a wonderful read!
 Posted by laura kinsale on 03.30.2010
Lauren, I’d have to go back and re-read it myself to see if I could write an epilogue. Thank you!
 Posted by Barbara Dan on 05.01.2010
Laura, as I wrote you when “Seize the Fire” first came out, Sheridan Drake is the ultimate wounded warrior, far surpassing anything else I’ve read. I am delighted to hear that it’s coming out again. As for an epilogue, who needs it? The lovers’ total acceptance of one other leaves readers with the assurance that healing will continue.
Dedicating their story to our Vietnam Vets at the end, instead at the front of the book, has even more impact after living vicariously through Sheridan’s complex and often murky struggle not to give up on himself and life. Who but Olympia could bring hope and unconditional love to the scenario?
This has to be my all time favorite. Thanks for your superlative writing.
 Posted by laura kinsale on 05.05.2010
Thank you Barbara, for your comments both now and when the book first came out. I think the dedication is one of the more important elements of the book in this case.
 Posted by Debbie on 05.07.2010
What I enjoy about Laura’s heroes is they are recognizable in the men we love in our own lives. The husband who stands at your side when times are hard, the son who holds the restaurant door while 15 people walk through without saying thank you, the neighbor who mows the yard of the soldier pulling extra duty, the teacher who stays after hours to tutor students not even in his class…I could go on, but you know who they are in your life. Also, she has somehow captured the essence of the fear we all have when we make that commitment to love someone, to let them into our lives and to allow them to really see who we are.
 Posted by laura kinsale on 05.10.2010
Debbie, that’s definitely what I hope readers will feel. Thank you!
 Posted by Lauren Mease on 05.19.2010
I found this book at my local library and I was dazzled be just the cover of the book. Yet I’m not a person that usually judges a book by its cover, I couldn’t help it. I finished this book in just one day, I couldn’t put it down. I loved the chemistry between Sheridan Drake and Olympia, all the twists in between them finding an understanding and a true love of each other. My favorite part of the novel was the island when Olympia tells Drake that she would stay here to be with him! The book has flair of Gone with the Wind; it is such a classic romance! I hope for a movie and a sequel that would be so wonderful.
 Posted by laura kinsale on 05.23.2010
That would be quite a movie, the location scout would be busy. ;)
Thank you, Lauren, glad you enjoyed the book.
 Posted by Cami on 06.03.2010
I adore Seize the Fire, my hands down favorite book. Though we fans are in good company. I was reading a Q&A with author Anne Stuart and she states that Sheridan Drake is her all time favorite hero!
And while I agree with the earlier post by Barbara that the ending is powerful as is, especially with the dedication afterward, I also am on team Lauren’s post and want an epilogue!! Really. More Sheridan.
Since this sections says we can discuss the book… I had an idea. While the adventures of Sheridan and Olympia are over, I think the “nonsensical count” who shows up at the end of Seize the Fire would make a good hero of his own book.
We don’t know why Raban is out of money and willing to do all sorts of shady things on his path to riches, but that reminds me of Sheridan’s predicament at the beginning of Seize the Fire. When Raban arrives, Sheridan has already had this huge emotional journey since the time when he was in cahoots with Julia and asked the princess to marry him, then agreed to sneak Olympia into Oriens with the main goal of saving his hide and getting her jewels. Yet Raban is the same sort of rascally character that Sheridan was and somewhat still is.
With your genius, Laura, Raban too might have a back story leaving him filled with inner demons that only the right woman can heal. LOL! Plus, If you wrote a book for him, we might get to see Sheridan and Olympia since Raban was still somewhat involved with Sheridan at the end of the book when he was sent to Madeira to look for Olympia.
I can’t be the only one who wants another hero like Sheridan and I think Raban is our best chance. Please. Pretty please… :)
 Posted by laura kinsale on 06.11.2010
Yes, we do love those soft-hearted rogues, don’t we? LOL.
I don’t have any immediate plans, but you never know.
 Posted by Sandra on 10.08.2010
I love your writing style! I can’t make myself read anybody else because they always fail in comparison!! I am re-reading all your books for the trillionth time and STF is still #1 for me! #2 is FFTS. I love both Sheridan and Olympia equally! I love that you didn’t make her thin! I love that he finds her sexy even though her body in her mind isn’t perfect! I love that he hates being considered a hero and yet he truly is… Basically, I love the depths of your characters! You are so gifted! The Muse has been good to you! I want this book and FFTS made into a movie! Though it could never replace the books! Thankyou for taking up writing!
 Posted by laura kinsale on 10.10.2010
Thank you again. :)
 Posted by lisa on 10.12.2010
I wish I had known you had a new edition out of STF—it looks beautiful! I found an older version with the original cover. I just finished it last week and the story is haunting me—I loved Sheridan and Olympia so much but—this is so weird—I’m actually worried for them. I don’t have that peace of a HEA with them—I feel like their story needs another volume at least so we can follow up with how they are doing. I don’t normally worry about fictional characters like this ;-)
I agree with Cami that a book on Raban is needed then we can check up on Sheridan and Olympia to make sure they have actually moved back indoors at least! Or if we beg hard enough, maybe a little epilogue?
Thank you for your books—never stop writing. :-)
 Posted by eKathy28 on 11.02.2010
Hello Laura: I cannot even begin to say how much I love this book. I am a weeping, blithering mess. And yes, that means I love it.
I was reading your books marathon style at the beginning of the year and I thought I had finished all your books earlier this year—except for “The Hidden Heart” and “Shadow and the Star.” I appear to have put them together someplace safe and can’t find them. I was turning out my shelves one more time and realized I had somehow missed this one…
It is interesting in your introduction you say Sherry turned a little dark on you. I was sniffling right from the first quip about his horrible father. That is the kind of black humor the most abused use to survive. I don’t know how you wrote this book without turning yourself inside out. (I am not suggesting anything autobiographic here, just that it was so very wrenching.)
It truly is cinematic in scope, from English drawing rooms, to the sea, to the island, to the desert to the Alps. And all of it so real you can smell it and feel it and taste it.
Of course, the island is the favorite part. Who can resist a man who saves a baby penguin?
But the scene on shipboard when he nearly succumbs to his demons is stunning.
And that neither of them have a clear sense of their own strengths is truly unique. Even in the end I wonder if they know as much about themselves as the reader knows about them?
This far surpasses the usual offer of the romance genre and I write that with no disparagement of the genre I love.
When he asks her to come back from so very far away because he needs her ... I think maybe that goes against just about every romance convention there is. She is not plucky. She is as wounded as he is at that point and yet there is enough love to heal them both.
Ah, drat. I am crying again. Kathy
 Posted by eKathy28 on 11.02.2010
Hello again: I just had to add one more thing for those who might not have read it and would be dismayed about the tears. It is also laugh out loud funny. Kathy
 Posted by laura kinsale on 11.02.2010
Thank you, eKathy! And thanks for mentioning the humor—I like to read books that mix humor and intensity myself, so it’s a big compliment to me that you saw both in STF.
 Posted by Viv aka Vixenbib on 11.16.2010
Hi Laura (again…so soon!). Finished this a couple of days ago. It really surprised me. Despite being charmed and amused by Sheridan’s outrageousness, I was also VERY irritated by both him AND Olympia in the first few chapters; so much so, that I couldn’t believe they were ever going to fit together, convincingly! Well, I changed my mind. And I am one of your readers who doesn’t need or want an epilogue. I think it finished in the perfect place.
You are a stunning writer - where does this stuff come from? (Rhetorical! - you don’t need to answer. But each one of your books is SO different from the others - I have to keep asking.) From about half way through the book it began to dawn on me, that Sheridan was a victim of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder - does it have the same name in USA?) and the gradual revealing of his condition was, in my opinion, fantastically well done. I REALLY LOVE YOUR WORK. (Laura, I hope you don’t mind me saying: there’s only one book out of the ten I have so far read, with which I have any real reservations - and I’m going to re-read it to see how I feel second time around. (Uncertain Magic, as you’re asking.))
STF, TSATS and Shadowheart have all moved me, deeply - but STF is the only to have actually caused me to weep real, painful tears - even before I got to the end. I think your insights into the human condition are akin to those of a therapist. Maybe that’s a quality shared by all great writers. Wonderful work. Thank you seems inadequate. If I were near you, I’m afraid I might have to touch your arm or something.
P.S. I seem to harp on about the angst in your novels because that’s what really *GETS* me - but I really appreciate how multifaceted your writing is. You make me laugh too!
 Posted by laura kinsale on 11.16.2010
LOL, I’m re-reading STF right now while copy-editing the digital version for re-release, and I have to admit I find the two of them rather irritating myself in some places. It’s interesting to go back to a book after so long; it’s as if someone else wrote it and I can sure see the flaws!
But seeing as you seem to think they redeem themselves, I’ll get back to work on it. ;)
 Posted by Viv aka Vixenbib on 11.16.2010
Wow! and possibly, Oops!
Laura, I know you’re (half) joking - but I’m really NOT trying to suggest that you should have done anything differently with Sheridan and Her Highness; I wouldn’t want them to be anyone but themselves.
What is so amazing for me about this particular book is that I grew, from being irritated, to REALLY caring about and liking them both. And that is absolutely a testimony to the quality of your writing.
Wow! again. You’re re-reading it RIGHT NOW?!
 Posted by Viv aka Vixen! on 11.16.2010
Just for clarification - I usually post as “Vixen”, not in fact Vixenbib, as I wrote in my last two posts! I’m confusing myself with all these pseudonyms! Not sure what the point is, really…
 Posted by eKathy on 12.28.2010
Just dropping in. I accidentally clicked on remove me from further notifications and I REALLY did not want to do that. I like it when these messages randomly drop into my inbox and I am reminded again of how much I love all these books.
 Posted by Chris on 02.08.2011
I really did not think I could find a book which could match ‘Flowers from the Storm’ in power, intensity, drama, emotion, humour, poignancy (I could go on!) and sheer wow factor enjoyment.How wrong I was. I have just put down ‘Seize the Fire’ and I already feel bereaved. What a wonderful book!I was so swept up in the characters of Sheridan and Olympia, their trials and emotions and thought processes, that I found it very hard to accept that the book had ended. I too wanted to know what happened next (although the book ends perfectly - it’s not a criticism - I’m just greedy!), but I think we know what happens really. They’re going to be very happy, Sheridan is going to be a great dad (only see how he was with that penguin), Olympia is going to be a lovely mum (she’ll still have retained her high principles and superb manners)and they’re going to live in Norfolk. That’s my version anyway!
I really can’t praise this book enough. It’s beautifully written, incredibly well-researched (how do you know so much about Norfolk, Laura, and the Falklands for heaven’s sake? - it’s amazing), highly complex and profound in terms of character development yet totally accessible. I loved it. And thank you again, Laura. I’m very grateful.
It would be lovely if all your work could be available on kindle soon. As a UK reader I do not always find it easy to get hold of your books. Amazon is my salvation!
With all best wishes.
 Posted by Chris on 02.08.2011
Actually - I said Norfolk in my previous post, but it’s mostly Cambridgeshire, isn’t it? The Fens anyway. Sorry about that! Geography obviously not my strong point!
 Posted by laura kinsale on 02.08.2011
Chris, I totally agree about their future! Thanks for posting and I’m glad you enjoyed the book.
 Posted by Maria on 05.02.2011
For me, it is difficult to top “For My Ladies Heart” in terms of personal resonance. But “Seize The Fire” did capture my heart and mind in a more subtle way. The complexity and entirety of the human experience I read in your characters is what continually brings me back. Case in point: Olympia. My opinion of her was not too high to begin, but I feel it grows even as the days continue to march on after concluding the book.
Not only do you paint a clear and real picture of the people in your books, but the way in which you describe the land and castle filled skies is beautiful.
 Posted by Marylou on 05.19.2011
I am obsessed with this book! I love all your novels, Ms.Kinsale,but right now this is my favorite. My previous obsession was For My Lady’s Heart,about which I can’t understand why it does not get more attention. I love how you take a classic love story - like knight saves princess and turn it on it’s head and inside out. Never predictable, always entertaining, written with as much attention to description as to the dialog,all of it beautiful prose! I’ve already read Lessons in French twice and can’t wait ‘til your next novel. BTW I think Olympia and Sheridon go to live in Vienna and make beautiful music together,and heal each other.
 Posted by Melisa Adams on 09.04.2011
I have read Seize the Fire so many times since it’s first publication, I have parts of it memorized, I’m sure. In fact, I loaned it to many friends telling them they needed to read it, it was such a beautiful story. One friend I loaned it to loved it so much she never gave it back. I had to have that book, so I went to Amazon to purchase it again. I had to send them on a search for out of print books (apparently it hadn’t gone into re-issue at that time) and paid the same price I would have paid for a hard backed book.
A movie is a tempting thought, but I would miss my version of Sheridan with those silvery eyes and that blackest black hair and his sulky face. I always weep for them at the end. Every time, no matter how many times I read it. But all of the LK books leave me with a small bruise on my heart. They are like the romance version of a Stephen King book. Good works hard to find its way, but pays a heavy price.
I had been so afraid that there were no more books to be had. By coming to this website I have discovered two that I’ve let slip by me. I’m off to the bookstore!!! :D
 Posted by Ivana Rodríguez on 09.25.2011
I read this book last year and I fell in love with your work, actualy, you’re my favourite writter ever. I’m from Argentina, so if I have any mistakes with the writing - in fact is the most probably -, I apologize.
The story between Olympia and Sheridan is so engaging. Is like reading a love story I would like to happen to me; despite the adversities faced by characters.
I read Flowers from the Storm, Seize the Fire and The Prince of Midnight. I have it on my shelf and I read this over and over (I’m trying to get the others books!)
Congratulations for being the owner of such magnificent pieces of literature!
 Posted by laura kinsale on 09.29.2011
Welcome, Ivana. Thank you. Your English is very good, and I’m so glad you wrote to tell me you enjoy my books.
 Posted by Rory the Reader on 10.03.2011
I loved this book. I read it three times in a week.
But I keep worrying about the Sheridan and Olympia. Can they be happy?
I do think the book ended perfectly but I have to reiterate what someone above me has said already:
What is up with Raban? What’s his story? He dropped into and out of the book in such a manner that there *has* to be more to him.
I read this book and also The Dream Hunter this month. And so I’m forced to ask these questions:
1. What kind of research did you do when you set out to describe the people and places out East?
2. Do you ever wonder how your depictions of Arab and Turkish culture are received by readers and fans who may be Arab or Turkish?
(I don’t mean any disrespect here, but I wonder.)
 Posted by laura kinsale on 10.03.2011
Hi, Rory, glad you enjoyed the books. Actually when I started writing the manuscript that became Lessons in French, I was thinking of making Raban the hero, but the timing didn’t work out and I went in a different direction. But there’s just a little bit of Raban in Trev, since he was the original inspiration. ;)
Regarding Dream Hunter I did quite a bit of research into the English view of Bedouin and Turkish culture and history of the time period. The book was written before the days of google, so I used print books, mostly written by British travelers to the near east and Arabian peninsula. I’m sure the Turks of the day had quite a different view of Hester Stanhope than the English did, but all I had access to was the English version of events. So a lot of it reflects their views and prejudices, just like everything we read about those areas today reflects ours. And there’s a lot of controversy, depending on your point of view, isn’t there?
Having just visited Istanbul and Izmir this summer, I can say that I really was blown away by Turkey and would love to go back—the layers of history are awesome, people fascinating. Istanbul was like nowhere I’ve been before, and I’ve been a fair number of places. (I have Turkish fans, and just recently The Dream Hunter was published in Turkish, so I guess at least the publisher was ok with it.)
I sometimes wonder what any reader thinks of my books, but to be honest if a writer spends too much time thinking about that, it’s a great way to drive yourself nuts. You cannot ever please everyone, or know everything about a subject, or even come close.
 Posted by Mary M on 11.05.2011
I love your humor, Laura. I was hooked on Seize the Fire when you used the word “succour” re Sheridan and the Greek fisherman’s daughter. You have a skilled blend of humanity, storytelling, and satirical yet hopeful perspective of life.
best wishes, Mary
 Posted by laura kinsale on 11.09.2011
Heh, yes I seem to be known for using rather unusual diction now and then. Unfortunately I’m the kind of person who talks like that in real life too. ;)
Thank you! So glad you enjoyed the book.
 Posted by Jai Joshi on 08.24.2012
I was hooked on this book from the first chapter when Sheridan realises he’s going to die on that ship after all even though he’s supposed to be going home and he blames it all on the admiral. So funny! Then when he’s in the sea and he shouts curses at the ships sailing past him. Hilarious and yet terrifying at the same time. I couldn’t put the book down.
Then, as I read further and Sheridan’s PTSD started to be revealed bit by bit, my heart ached for him and for Olympia who was trying to help him even when he didn’t want to be helped. They were so perfect for each other. By the end, I was so emotionally entangled with them both, I was weeping and praying that Olympia would reach out her hand to him. I just wanted them to go to Vienna and make music.
I would certainly vote for an epilogue too but the book was perfect just the way it was. A sequel with Raban as the hero would work just as well in showcasing Sheridan and Olympia after their story, hoping with children and a peaceful home.
There are several sequels I wish you would write, Laura! Like a sequel for Durham from FFTS (which would be so funny!), and also a sequel for Diana, Christian’s bastard daughter in FFTS. There’s got to be a story in there somewhere because despite Maddy teaching her to not care for worldly things, there’s no way Diana’s not going to suffer from her illegimacy.
But ultimately, like any Laura Kinsale devotee, I’m going to wait for whatever your next book is and gobble up every word.
 Posted by Aleandra Rodriguez on 01.04.2013
Hi Laura, I’m Alejandra,from Argentina. I love your books. But I wanted to tell you that there is an error in this book. July is summer in the Malvinas, where the penguins are, is just an observation. And I’m glad that you called Malvinas.
All your books are wonderful, thanks for giving us so much hope and illusion ...
 Posted by laura kinsale on 01.06.2013
I’m sure there are a lot of mistakes in my books! I’m a little puzzled because I think July is winter in the southern hemisphere, but you are much closer than I am, so I will bow to your knowledge. :) I’m glad you enjoyed the book anyway. Laura
 Posted by Delah on 06.12.2013
I’ve read several of your books many years ago and enjoyed them. Definitely not your average romance novels. Very unique. Seize the Fire was the first of your novels that I read and my favorite. I am a member of Audible.com and noticed you have 3 books in audio format but not Seize the Fire. Do you have plans to put Seize the Fire in audio format?
 Posted by laura kinsale on 06.15.2013
YES!!! Seize the Fire will definitely be an audiobook. Nick Boulton is reading all of my books, except one or two, and they’ll be coming out over the rest of this year and early 2014!
I’m so glad you found them on Audible. Look for THE DREAM HUNTER next, in late July or August.
 Posted by Lari Tanner on 08.02.2013
I’ve read your books over a few times, my all time favorites are the Shadow and the Star, Flowers from the Storm, and the Prince of Midnight. I love how your characters, although heroic, are flawed. It makes them much more real. I enjoy your writing immensely. I am a writer of sorts myself, but cannot seem to capture the moment like you do, something I’m still learning to do!
I re-read these favorites of mine these past few weeks, and am still in awe at your descriptions and dialogue. You have a magnificent voice! I do have a question about Seize the Fire in particular.
Toward the end of the book, you introduce us to a mysterious character by the name of Count Raban. I was wondering if you were ever planning his own romance and adventure story, I was rather hoping you would! I have not read your most recent books, My Sweet Folly, Lessons in French, or Dream Hunter, so I’m not sure if he may turn up in those books or not? But, I am hoping you’ll let us know more about this mysterious count. He sounds like a main character for his own story for sure!
Thank you for your wonderful talent, I look forward to reading your new books!!
 Posted by laura kinsale on 08.03.2013
Lari, I’m glad you enjoy my books!
I have not written about Count Raban. I’ve thought about it, and some of the original impulse for the hero in Lessons in French came from that, but it turned out completely different.
So, no, Raban doesn’t appear anywhere in my books. He would be a great character and I don’t count it out in the future!
Good luck with your writing!
 Posted by Lari Tanner on 08.03.2013
I should have scrolled up and read your answer about Count Raban in an earlier post! My bad! Thanks so much for replying back to me, and so quickly too! I hope you don’t rule Raban out, I am curious about him and would love to read his story! I am currently in my master’s program in media and communications at University of Texas at Dallas. I’m in your neck of the woods! I hope to write more than term papers eventually. My hope is to be a YA writer, a published one! Thank you for your well wishes. If you ever do a book signing here, I hope I hear about it so I can meet ya in person! Thanks again for your wonderful Worlds of Kinsale! :) You, as my kids would say, ROCK!Commenting is not available in this section entry.