Wednesday 14 February 2018

The Cold Light of Dawn by Anna Belfrage

A fabulous series with two very romantic lead characters for Valentine's Day - meet Kit and Adam...

Shortlisted for Book of the Month

AMAZON US $6.88 

Fictional Saga 
England / France

Book 4 The King’s Greatest Enemy Series

Fascinating Research Powering a Glorious Love Story

"After Henry of Lancaster’s rebellion has been crushed early in 1329, a restless peace settles over England. However, the young Edward III is no longer content with being his regents’ puppet, no matter that neither Queen Isabella nor Roger Mortimer show any inclination to give up their power. Caught in between is Adam de Guirande, torn between his loyalty to the young king and that to his former lord, Roger Mortimer. 
Edward III is growing up fast. No longer a boy to be manipulated, he resents the power of his mother, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer. His regents show little inclination of handing over their power to him, the rightful king, and Edward suspects they never will unless he forces their hand.
Adam de Guirande is first and foremost Edward’s man, and he too is of the opinion that the young king is capable of ruling on his own. But for Adam siding with his king causes heartache, as he still loves Roger Mortimer, the man who shaped him into who he is. 

Inevitably, Edward and his regents march towards a final confrontation. And there is nothing Adam can do but pray and hope that somehow things will work out. Unfortunately, prayers don’t always help." 

The fourth eagerly awaited novel in The King’s Greatest Enemy series, The Cold Light of Dawn has been billed as the final book in Ms Belfrage’s award-winning medieval historical fiction saga. Let me put it on record. Nope. No. Never. Don’t believe it. This series is too good, too addictive, too compelling not to continue. We’re just getting warmed up! And, Ms Belfrage herself has left a tantalizing epilogue where she hints she may return. All I have to say is, when?

Here’s the joy of reading this series: the research and detail is impeccable. It’s deep, comprehensive, and completely reliable. Which means as a reader, one can relax and enjoy the outstanding narrative, knowing that the author has done her homework and built her historical fiction on a solid foundation of fact and truth. That being said, plunging into the fascinating world of medieval England and France with characters as likeable as Adam and Kit de Guirande is to see, feel, hear and speak the time, for Ms Belfrage’s writing is utterly immersive. And here’s the interesting part – along with her historical accuracy, Ms Belfrage’s dialogue and emotions are totally accessible to the 21st century reader, without seeming anachronistic.

In The Cold Light of Dawn, we know there is a final showdown coming. And despite neatly dispatching some enemies early on in the book, the tension ratchets to almost unbearable levels as Kit and Adam are witnesses to the return of Edward III and the young king’s journey to manhood. Some beautifully written characterizations (the viscerally compelling scenes around the fate of Alicia and Robert for instance) show the depth of the young man as he grows into his role. And we know that this is just a dress rehearsal for worse to come.

Alleviating the political tensions and stresses at court (the queen's pre-occupations with providing heirs is another tense subplot) is the glorious love story between Kit and Adam. At times exasperated with each other, at other times wonderfully lustful, theirs is a genuinely human relationship, and one that we can all wish for, no matter what era.

So to summarize, a splendid novel and one that is sure to delight all fans of Kit and Adam. I’d venture to say that perhaps it’s the best yet of the series.

Until Ms Belfrage writes the fifth book, that is.

© Elizabeth St John

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  1. Ok. so now I am no longer quite as mute: THANK YOU for a lovely, lovely review. I am somewhat overcome...

  2. This review is one of my favourite reviews ever. I return to it whenever I need to cheer myself up a bit :)


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