Author: Kate Cotoner and Aleksandr Voinov
Publisher: Carina Press
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Squire William Raven has only one goal–to finally receive his spurs and become a knight. When his lord, Sir Robert de Cantilou, returns from a five-year crusade in the Holy Land, William wants nothing more than to impress him.
After Sir Robert’s return, noble guests arrive from France, bringing intrigue to the castle. William is oblivious to the politics, as he’s distracted by nightly visits from a faceless lover–a man who pleasures him in the dark and then leaves–a man he soon discovers is none other than his master, Sir Robert.
But William can’t ignore the scheming around him when he overhears a plot to murder Robert. He becomes intent on saving his lord and lover from those who would see him killed…
William is “old” for a squire looking to become a knight, though I don’t think this is the basis for the attitude he has and that I love. He does have a chip on his shoulder but he knows it and, despite his inability to use a verbal filter, he tries to fight those initial reactions that cause him to appear quick to temper and fighting. Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes not so much. That lack of a filter often takes over where the chip leaves off. Either way, he’s likeable. Some of those instincts of his are spot on.
This story holds a good pace all throughout, no unwelcome detail, all of it expertly utilized to provide flavor without being smothered by it. One small casualty of this, though, is that some scenes feel cut short. They’re almost unnoticeable because the very next paragraph has something just as intriguing or curious. Brevity can in fact relay a lot of information and leave room for more attention paid to emotion and reactions based on those emotions.
Sudden calm settled like a layer of snow over the excitement of the fight.
This single line signals a change in the atmosphere in the room, in William himself, and readied me for a significant shift in intent and focus. All of that from one sentence.
The chemistry between William and Sir Robert is smoldering and sparks to life every time they come near each other, which is often any time they’re in the same room. They share that undeniable need for each other, something so desirous that it takes over, and it certainly makes William hyper-aware of Sir Robert’s presence. The best thing is that neither of them shies away from this obvious attraction and connection. An exciting, satisfying, and loving future, and all of its possibilities, is something they both show little hesitation in making a grab for.
This isn’t a complicated story, no winding plotlines with multiple offshoots. You get some political intrigue and dastardly deeds, some family squabbling, some heated sex, all brought to life through wonderfully drawn characters in a confidently constructed world.
No wonder I’ve read this twice now, as well as having listened to the audiobook. 🙂
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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