Elis Madison's Reviews > Conquered by a Highlander

Conquered by a Highlander by Paula Quinn
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This is the fourth in the Children of the Mist series. It's still late Restoration England, the latter part of James II/VII's reign. The king has recently edged past the line between monarch and tyrant. Colin MacGregor (this is the brother of Mairi from the last story) joined the royal guard in the last story. He is now something of a spy as well, but he's starting to have his doubts about his king.

He's been sent to Dartmouth, to the keep of the Earl of Devon, who is believed to be in the thick of a plot by William of Orange to unseat James. Colin presents himself as a disenfranchised ex royal guardsman, who came to offer a little info about James' readiness, and a strong arm in the coming fight. The plan is for him to find out Devon's plans, and then call in his own men who wait nearby for a signal to attack. Every living person in this keep will die when the time comes.

Two of the living people in the keep are Gillian Dearly, the daughter of the Earl of Essex, and her little boy. She got knocked up by a commoner and when she refused to give up her baby, her father sent her to Devon. Devon can't seem to keep his slimy hands off the maidservants, but he's really tenting his justacorps for Gillian. When the conflict between William of Orange and James is over, he expects William will betroth him to Gillian as a reward (because noblemen in those days queued up to marry fallen women). Meanwhile he keeps her on a tight leash, and only two things keep him from anticipating the wedding night: First, there's Gillian herself—she might be forced to play nice with Devon because he threatens to banish her son if she doesn't, but she's also good with a dagger and she'll use it to keep what's left of her chastity. And second, there's Captain Gates—he's Devon's man, but he also stands ready to lop off the man-bits of anyone, including Devon, who messes with Lady Gillian. I'm not clear how either of those threats really works, since Devon holds the trump card, but conveniently, he's kept his man-bits under his own girly clothes thus far.

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Colin has an inconvenient attack of conscience when it comes to Gillian and her adorable boy, but he reminds himself regularly that he's a heartless SOB. He'll do what he must to advance the cause of his king no matter who gets trampled in the process.

So when push comes to shove, does Colin continue to serve his unjust king, or does he follow his heart? The answer isn't any great surprise.

This one deserves something between 3-4 stars. It's one of the better stories of the series if only because there are intrigues and danger mixed with the "loves-me-loves-me-not" angst. Still not one of Quinn's best, but definitely above the curve.
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Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Havent tried any of hers..not sure I will unless I get from the library.


Elis Madison I like Quinn. I take the star ratings pretty literally. 2 stars is "it was OK". 3 is "I liked it". 4 and 5 are reserved for the books that I loved, and might even keep for rereading. Not a lot of books get those ratings. So anyway, I did like this one.


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