The Cold Light of Dawn: The King’s Greatest Enemy #4. Anna Belfrage. Timelight Press. February 2018. 593 pp. ASIN#: B0795BMD9W.
“Caught in the middle” is the perfect way to describe Adam de Guirande’s place in the Court of the young King Edward III, too young to rule but old enough to resent the behavior of the regent rulers, Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer. Adam initially serves Edward in whatever way asked and ultimately will become the King’s Guard, in charge of all soldiers who protect the King at all times. Edward has not reached his majority to rule but is showing signs he is more than able to do so. Isabella and Mortimer are lovers, despite the fact that Mortimer is married. Mortimer works long hours but he goes farther than he should as he truly loves fine dress, food and riches. He listens only to Isabella and this is heading toward rebellion from the people he rules or betrayal from one or more of the numerous factions always plotting to thwart Mortimer’s plans.
Adam de Guirande is married to Kit, the grand love of his life. The passion between them is obvious, frequent and well-described. Such a great union is all that keeps Adam from losing his sanity. For Adam is also tied to Roger Mortimer who brought him from a low position to the place Adam now occupies. He owes Roger everything and yet has sworn loyalty and love to King Edward. Roger knows this but pulls at Adam’s conflicted, tortured thoughts and feelings, saying he realizes the conflict but always reminding Adam of where his first loyalty should be.
The King, Mortimer, Lancaster and others all have spies everywhere, throughout the country as well as in other countries such as France and Italy. The issues are not new nor are the machinations that would give England France, earls and other nobles who would acquire more land and power throughout England, etc.
The tensions among Adam, Edward, Roger, Isabella and Lancaster are gradually increasing to the point that the reader knows an explosion is soon to occur and for some end quite badly. Kidnappings, sword fighting engagements, ladies who enchant with more dangerous but subtle plans in mind, and more fill these swiftly moving pages with excitement and intrigue. A medieval sense of brutality leaves the reader occasionally breathless.
The Cold Light of Dawn is great reading and easy to follow whether or not the reader knows the history of that particular time period. Adam loves both his Lords but “a divided house cannot, indeed, stand!” One suspects another novel in this series is to follow which will be highly anticipated by this reviewer! Spectacular historical fiction!
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