Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Land Beyond Ravens: Book Four of the Macsen's Treasure Series by Kathleen Cunningham Guler

A Land Beyond Ravens: Book Four of the Macsen's Treasure Series by Kathleen Cunningham Guler. Bardson Press, Boulder, CO. September 2009. ISBN #: 9780966037166

In 5th Century Britain, King Uther is physically failing! A ruler who never took hostages has now become suspicious of his trusted spy, Marcus ap Iorwerth, who has held pivotal secrets protecting the realm and now is being treated like a foreign enemy! Into this mix arises the presence of Uther's son, Arthur, who appears to have a design to defeat the encroaching Saxons, a plan that Uther has been slow to accept in spite of failure and in spite of the fact that the lords under Uther are divided in their support and rejection of his ruthless ways. Add to that mixture the rising influence of the Catholic Church, whose loyalty and power appear to sway with whoever is victorious, a changing tide from day to day!

Marcus and his wife, Claerwen are determined to do all in their power to work for freedom, loyalty and love of Britain but are heavily burdened by all of these conflicting forces working for self-gain and destroying the kingdom in the process. Marcus is haunted by the devastating loss of a dearly loved one, and the machinations of Claerwen's sister brings fear and treachery to the home of Marcus and Claerwen, a place of peace, trust and deep respect for the old Druid ways. Their deep love, however, is the force that enemies fail to calculate and one that strengthens them for the deepest of challenges.

Merlin the Enchanter has prophesied that one day a phenomenal King will rule Britain and usher in a new, unprecedented age of glory and honor. He is everywhere that matters and is relying on the allegiance of Marcus and Claerwen, even after Uther tries to divide this dedicated couple by taking a cherished family member a prisoner to guarantee Marcus's obedience. Who will prevail? It isn't so obvious and the confusing battles make the reader doubt whether goodness will prevail.

Kathleen Cunningham Guler possesses a particular gift of blending history, adventure, mystery and passionate love into a story so engaging that one can't stop reading and yet dreads the end of such an engaging, riveting story! Unsure whether there will be other stories to follow in this dynamic, wonderful series, this reviewer believes the end of A Land Beyond Ravens holds forth the possibility of another book to follow in this multiple-award-winning series, which is a great thought, indeed!

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