As I read further into the Le Veque’s mighty library of Medieval stories of adventure, passion, honor, and battle, I'm ready to slide into her world all over again. She’s a prolific writer who entertains with battle scenes, knight camaraderie, humor, and poignant moments. Her series overlap so much with characters from previous ones, the joy of old friends, the rich understanding of historical events and her developed characterization is thoroughly captivating.
In this book, the de Wolfe pack has its beginnings. The house of de Wolfe, de Lohr, de Russe, de Reyne, de Moray, De Winter, de Lara, St. Hever, du Reims and Wellesbourne.
I love how the story starts. In present day, Abigail Devlin, an American student working on her Ph.D. dissertation in Medieval history at the University of Birmingham is presented the opportunity to learn about the men who support the Duke of Normandy’s push into England. She discovers a goldmine of unpublished historical events, written by a priest Jathan de Guerre. Her dissertation, to unearth who the unsung heroes of the Norman Invasion were and their affect upon the Conquest.
Through the eyes of this character’s journal, detailing the Battle of Hastings and aftermath, Le Veque not only breathes life into historical events, she provides the reader a deep understanding of the kind of friendship, honor and passion between men of like mind and body. These ten men were known as the Anges de Guerre (Angels of War), Special Forces, if you will, for the Duke of Normandy. These were the heroes which Le Veque takes through many of her stories.
I always learn something about the Medieval period when I read ‘Medieval Le Veque’. I learned about the Book of Kells, Medieval Christian calligraphy and took a side trip to Google to see what she was talking about. Yet, Le Veque seamlessly weaves her magical imagination into the historical period, breathing evocative scenes of purpose, a place where her characters are challenged, whether physically, emotionally or both.
A young woman warrior, Ghislaine of Mercia, sister to a slightly insane half-brother, Alary, finds herself facing the sword tip of Warwolfe, Gaetan de Lohr on the battle field.
He realizes she’s a woman. (quote following)
“Let me go!” she demanded. “Release me or I will kill you!”
Frankly, Gaetan was shocked that a woman had been in the midst of the battle. It was enough of a shock that he stopped trying to squeeze her throat. “A female?” he said, sounding somewhat incredulous. “What foolish commander allows women to fight?”
She twisted violently and he caught a glimpse of her face; dressed as an archer as she was, including a cap, at a distance she could very easily be mistaken for a boy but now that he was close to her, he could see that she was no boy. In fact, her features were quite exquisite.
“I can kill you just as easily as a man can,” she hissed. “Let me go and I will give you a fair fight, poubelle.”
This scene is a typical spirited response Gaetan would get from this woman when they later meet. Poubelle isn’t a very flattering French word. She called him garbage in his own language.
He lets her go and says, (quoted from book)
"Remember Norman mercy the next time you intend to do one of us harm."
These words stay with her when she returns to camp, to find a prisoner had been taken, a Norman of great stature, and gravely injured. The prisoner is Kristoph de Lohr, Warwolfe’s closest friend and knight.
The words ring in Ghislaine’s mind. She has a debt of honor to pay. Her life was spared. She would spare this knight’s life. Her men understood this debt of honor, but not her insane brother.
The story takes off at a fast clip. Short of it, Ghislaine takes up with the Normans to help her save the knight, paying her debt of honor, and kill off her brother.
As Gaetan gets to know the woman, these are his thoughts, quote from book:
He didn’t want to talk to her. He didn’t want to look at her. He’d kept himself well away from her, and she’d kept herself away from him as well. He was content. Not happy, but content. But now, here she was, and in looking at her he realized just how much he’d missed her. Something about his woman was growing on him, inside him, just like a parasite, and he couldn’t shake her no matter how hard he tried.
A parasite, you say, Gaeten? You will surely see there is no escape. Once the heart and soul are engaged, you are lost. Fight her, but you won’t succeed!
If you haven’t read any of Le Veque’s work, this would be the book to start with. Her writing will take you to her enthralling world full of treachery, honor, greed, power and passion. A must-read author if you are a fan of Medieval Historical reads.
An advanced review copy provided by the publisher for a fair review.
*** A USA Today Bestselling book, ranked #110 on the USA Today Bestseller list 6/11/17! ***