Elizabeth Vaughan is the author of one of my favorite fantasy trilogies – The Warlands Chronicles : Warprize, Warsworn and Warlord. I’ve been waitingElizabeth Vaughan is the author of one of my favorite fantasy trilogies – The Warlands Chronicles : Warprize, Warsworn and Warlord. I’ve been waiting for her new book eagerly!
She is a mercenary trained in the way of war and the blade – nothing more. A woman known only as Red Gloves has come to the land of the Palins in search of work. What she finds, however, is the torched fields and razed farms of a land defiled.
If you see her without the gloves, run… This is all Josiah knows about the mysterious woman – until he catches a glimpse of the dagger-star birthmark, a sign that she is destined to free his people from a ruthless usurper’s reign of terror.
But she is more dangerous when following her heart… Red doesn’t believe in gods. Nevertheless, she finds herself drawn into the rebellion – not by the prophecy of the chance to win the throne, but by the pain of and untold loss in Josiah’s eyes…
Cynical, practical, strong, sharp-minded but not without femininity, Red is not an easy-going person. Some might think her insensitive or sometimes too aggressive but how could she be a fighter and a leader thinking differently? She is a warrior above all. When I read a book about a warrior woman, I confess that I’m always kind of skeptic. It seems they are always very delicate ladies who once grabbed a sword or learned how to use it from a father or a brother and suddenly they are defending lands, family and honor. Others seemed to be highly trained but somehow, when the battle comes up, nothing is really shown. This always gave me the impression that some authors might be afraid of creating a heroine who would be, in their opinion, too masculine.
Josiah is a lonely and scarred men. After losing everything, he lives alone in his lands with his goats and doesn’t need much more… He is a very sweet hero with his patience and peacefulness but also his strength. Someone might think he would fade next Red, but they manage to built a perfect balance.
What strikes me the most in this book are the inverted roles. Normally, the hero goes to the war and the heroine stays at home waiting. Nothing of that here, Red leads an army and Josiah waits for her.
I enjoyed following Red, her friends and allies in their mission to regain the Palins throne and finally defeat the Regent. The end of the battle was wrapped up a little too fast and I wanted to see more, to know what happened and how. We do get some information about the Regent, but through rumors and after battle talk. Maybe I was waiting for a grand finale but Vaughn had other ideas.
The secret of the red gloves was somehow unsettling… I was expecting something terrifying and while the reasons behind this are still strong, I didn’t believe at all that excessive behavior each time someone mentioned the gloves.
The secondary characters are very appealing - Ezre, Bethral, Evie, young Gloriana and even Helen and Wolfe. I’m very curious about them and I truly hope to see more of them in Vaughan’s future books.
Those who read The Chronicles of the Warlands will certainly be a bit disappointed. We are in the same world (different kingdoms and different times) but it all seems different, the magic, the elves, the undead… We had nothing of this in the previous books and strangely, it was what appealed mostly to me.
Dagger-star is a good read, something that will certainly please fantasy readers who like strong heroines and fast-paced adventures with a little of romance thrown in.
Two new books are coming up: Red Gloves (Gloriana?) this year and White Robes (Evie?) in 2009.
Amanda is a feisty even if sometimes too trusting heroine, but she’s also funny and very perceptive. Just the kind of girl I love to read about. WhenAmanda is a feisty even if sometimes too trusting heroine, but she’s also funny and very perceptive. Just the kind of girl I love to read about. When the story starts, she is about to leave her adoptive country, India, where she lived several years with her brother. Since he married, she felt that her presence was not really welcomed by her sister-in-law and decided to return to England. In her last night in the country, she visits a princess who gives her a very mysterious statue, The Sandalwood Princess. Meanwhile, another person is also interested in the statue and hires a mysterious man going by the name of The Falcon to steal the precious gift from Amanda that same night. The next day they are both aboard the same boat returning to their home country…
If Amanda is a delicious heroine, The Falcon is a charmer! Philip Astonley, Viscount Felkoner (aka Mr. Brentick) didn’t think twice when he stole the statue from the young lady. Now, while returning home he meets and gets to know her and slowly falls under her charm. Arrogant, adventurous, charismatic, he has everything to win her heart, and ours too!
They both lie to each other and do everything they can to keep the statue, but somehow Loretta Chase manages to create a very dynamic couple who, in the end, understand they just cannot live without each other. Their bickering and competition is really funny. The initial condescending attitude from Philip quickly changes when he understands that Amanda is much more than a pretty lady and she stands up to him as an equal.
The story is not only exciting and very well crafted (in 220 pages!), we also get moments of pure fun and those are entirely Padji’s fault. The man is hilarious and kept me laughing out loud all the way until the end.
I read The Sandalwood Princess for the first time a couple of years ago and since then it remained one of my favorite Traditional Regencies. For me, it has a bit of everything I enjoy in a good story: a solid and exciting plot, a sparkling leading couple, attaching secondary characters (a special mention again for Padji) and an irresistible sense of humor. Also, it’s set in India which for me it’s always a plus!
The story begins with Magda’s death caused by torture and mistreatments at the hands of the Church after her being accused of witchcraft. Her daughterThe story begins with Magda’s death caused by torture and mistreatments at the hands of the Church after her being accused of witchcraft. Her daughter Bridget knows it’s now her turn to continue her family bloodline, the descendants of Mary Magdalene. This young woman is quite unconventional and someone who easily gains your admiration after witnessing her strength and honesty.
Raoul de Montvallant is a Catholic but his family always protected the Cathars. The Catholic Church’s intolerance and fear towards other religions starts a quest, leaded by Simon of Montfort, to annihilate Catharism bringing chaos and death into the young man’s world.
Raoul and Bridget feel attracted to each other from the first moment their eyes meet across a room but circumstances will keep them apart… He is married and has family obligations and she knows her status and special gifts are not easily accepted by men.
This is a journey full of adventure, passion and honor that spawns for almost 40 years. You follow not only Bridget and Raoul’s life but also their children’s.
When I started to read this story, I immediately think of The DaVinci Code but in a much positive way. Mixing up the Saint Grail, Cathars and spiritualism is not for everyone and Elizabeth Chadwick does it brilliantly.
I lived in the south of France for a while (Toulouse actually) and I had the chance to visit several Cathar castles (my favorites being Carcassone and Montségur). While I was reading all these characters’ travels I could easily see myself in those places again. This is one of the reasons why I admire Elizabeth Chadwick’s writing, she always makes everything seem so real, even when there’s some paranormal elements involved.
While not being perfect, The Daughters of the Grail has an historical richness that no medieval fan can be indifferent to. Highly recommended!
Note: This book is also known as The Children of Destiny. ...more