19 January 2017

FOR KING AND COUNTRY by Charlene Newcomb

AMAZON UK £ 4.16 / £12.50
AMAZON US $ 5.24 / $14.99
AMAZON CA $n.a / $19.37

Saga / Series
Crusades
Battle Cross Series #2

It’s well over a year since I read Ms Newcomb’s first book in her Battle Cross series, Men of the Cross. Set during the Third Crusade, this book introduced Henry de Grey and Stephan l’Aigle, two young men who find themselves in more ways than one while fighting the infidel in the Holy Land.

Now Henry and Stephan – together with the enigmatic Robin – have returned to England, only to find the enemy lives and breathes at home as well, in this case as the grasping Prince John, younger brother to the imprisoned King Richard – and determined to make England his own.

We all know the general story of Richard and his younger brother, we all know that England was ravaged by strife, with some men siding with John, others with their king. This is the complicated mess to which Henry and Stephan return, and soon enough it becomes apparent it will be very difficult to identify friend from foe – even within the immediate family.

Ms Newcomb has stepped outside the normal restrictions imposed on novels set in these times in that her Henry and Stephan are not only comrades in arms, they are lovers. In a sequence of beautiful scenes, she breathes careful life into their passion, moments of tenderness and love that make it abundantly clear theirs is not a short-term relationship, theirs is the love of a lifetime.

Unfortunately, Henry is the heir to estates and is expected to marry. Fortunately, the young bride, Elle, is no more interested in marrying Henry than he is in marrying her, which leads to a creative approach to things.

While Henry’s marital issues are a recurring theme throughout the book, the central plot is based round Prince John’s determination to fight his brother for England. In secret, he is arming and provisioning various castles – among them Nottingham – and this is where Sir Robin, loyal knight to King Richard, takes the lead, forming a band of men to create as much havoc as possible.  Men such as Tuck and Little John, Allan and Will take on shape, becoming very different creatures than the outlaws we know from the old tales of Robin and his Merry men. And yes, there is a Marion too.

Beautifully written, chock-full of historical details imparted elegantly throughout, For King and Country is a compelling and wonderful read. I am happy to note Ms Newcomb is planning further books in the series – I for one will be eagerly awaiting them!

© Anna Belfrage Discovering Diamonds




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9 comments:

  1. I see the villainous John is getting up to more mischief. What would authors do without him? He's the perfect baddie.

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    1. Where John goes, there will be trouble! And he is so much fun to write.

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  2. Well, I guess I will have to read the book to see which brother gets wins England. Wonder wife Elle changes her husband's heart. Already feeling sympathy for her!

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    1. I think you will come to love Elle, Ginger. Thanks for commenting. I hope you do read & enjoy the book.

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  3. I've been wanting to read Char's books for awhile and hopefully will get round to it soon. Thanks for your great informative review

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    1. do read them Paula - excellent books

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    2. Thanks for dropping by to comment, Paula. I'd be honored to count you among my readers. Cheers!

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