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The King's Man

(Welsh Blades #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,776 ratings  ·  297 reviews
Ranulf Ombrier’s fame throughout 13th century England for his skill at swordplay is rivaled only by his notoriety as King Edward I’s favorite killer. Ranulf's actions have gained him lands, title, and a lasting reputation as a hired butcher. But after years of doing his king's bidding, he begins to fear for his mortal soul and follows his conscience away from Edward, all t ...more
Kindle Edition, 326 pages
Published June 20th 2015
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  1,776 ratings  ·  297 reviews

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Penny Reid
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was so great. I highly, highly recommend.
Things that were fantastic:
1. The writing
2. The dialogue
3. The characters
4. The plot

My favorite escape in the romance genre is historical, but I've been struggling for a while to find books where I can suspend disbelief enough to enjoy the story; it seems like everything I pick up recently includes 21st century heroines and heroes dropped in historical fiction settings. So... boo. Nicht gut.

But this book. THIS BOOK PEOPLE! SO GREAT!!!

I immedi
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

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I'm so bad with buddy reads - if I'm not into a book, I take weeks to finish. If I'm obsessed, I'll zoom through it in less than a day. My friend, Sarah, buddy-read THE KING'S MAN with me, but unfortunately the book she picked out was so good, I was done with it in just a few hours. I'm sorry, Sarah. I tried to stop, but the siren call of Ranulf was just too strong. Like Odysseus, I would have had to tie myself to a mast to stop - and I
Review written January 14, 2016

4.4 Stars - Great, simply great

The King's Man is written by a (new) US author Elizabeth Kingston. Now also as a 9 hours very praised audiobook narrated buy Nicholas Boulton (also well known as Laura Kinsale's favorite audiobook voice).

Oh yes, it was so very good to be in Ranulf Ombrier and Gwenllian of Ruardean's medieval old world. Intense, quite heavy, a oldish feeling, dramatic and not lighthearted at all, but wow so very grandly romantic. Not just "another" am
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
Finally!!! This story is excellent! It has everything: a medieval feeling, fine writing, wonderful characters, intrigue… you say and the story delivers!

Ou heroine is Gwenllian, a lady born, but who grow up as a knight! She reminded me very, very much of Brienne from GOT! During the whole time I imagined her like Brianne!

She saves the life of our hero, Ranulf even if he killed the man she was web by proxy defrauding her of her manor and her heritage. But she’s not interested in revenge. She doesn
Sam (AMNReader)
"Wow, sam, that took you forever."

You're telling me. And it KILLED me (in the best way). This book was so so good, wonderfully performed by Nicholas Boulton. It was about identity and love in a way that is somewhat indescribable (at least to me, a lazy reviewer). It had cruelty and betrayal and forgiveness. It had the wonderful something of the hero and heroine needing each other to be just who they are. There were swoony lovely passages. And it was really very sexy. Very. ahem. I'm gonna go re
K.J. Charles
Aug 23, 2020 added it
Shelves: m-f, medieval
I'm not generally a medieval reader but I love Elizabeth Kingston's writing so I girded my girdle for this one and didn't regret it. The hero gets off to a bad start (in the book as well as life) but becomes immensely likeable, seriously damaged but striving for better. The heroine is terrifically determined, and that wonderful thing, a genuinely not-beautiful woman. There's real passion, a strong sense of a culture that isn't thinly disguised 21st century US, and a solid relationship. Hugely en ...more
I've given this an A+ for narration (was there any danger it wouldn't be?!) and a B for content at AAR. I think that makes it technically 4.5 stars, but Nick Boulton's narration bumps it up into the 5 star bracket.

A couple of months ago, Laura Kinsale announced on her website that although Nicholas Boulton had finished recording all her books (boo!) he was going to be recording some more historical romances (yay!) - “recent titles that I've loved and appreciated for their quality and emotional i
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medieval

4.5 stars

I really liked the story even though I was reluctant to start reading it. This is my second book by the author, so I knew the writing would be good but reading it also meant leaving my ‘comfort’ Regency/Victorian era for rarely visited medieval times. And what a treat this was!

The years between 1277 and 1283 are also known in history as time of Edwardian Conquest of Wales which marked the end of Welsh independence. By the 13th century Wales was divided between native Welsh principaliti

Such a beautifully written and complex romance with a rich historical background. I love this book and feel such admiration for the author.

I pondered the title a bit, as the book feels more like Gwenllian's than Ranulf's book. Of the two characters I felt so drawn to her and found her story arc so important even to women's lives today. Gwenllian is a plain young aristocratic woman who struggles to find a place in her world that honors who she is at heart. As background to the start of the story,
Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
Audio – 5 stars
Story – 4.5 stars round down because of the lack of epilogue

Thank you, Annob, for mentioning this book in one of your reviews and putting it on my radar. I loved it.

It took me awhile to warm up to the hero, Ranulf. He makes a few hurtful and unflattering remarks about the heroine, Gwenllian because of her looks. Not only is she more Knight than Lady, her appearance is more masculine than feminine. She’s tall, broad shouldered and muscular. Eventually, he realizes Gwenllian is exa
"Love and loyalty are not the same, and it is unwise to confuse the two."

This book. This book.

Nothing about Gwenllian of Ruardean was familiar, commonplace, or reasonable. There was no rhyme to her, and the discord struck his ear and his life, a calamity of noise when he wanted only peace.

My brain has kinda just flatlined. I don't know how to put my thoughts together but can I just say that I am so mad this has been sitting on my kindle, unread, for almost a year! The only upside is now the sequ
Maria Rose
Welsh history comes alive in this fascinating story of intrigue, treachery, and romance set in the 13th century, under the reign of King Edward the 1st. Listening to this as an audiobook (narrated by the adept and versatile Nicholas Boulton) turned out to be an excellent choice as it meant I didn’t have to stumble over the written Welsh words but could let his fluid tongue tell me the story, one which kept me thoroughly entertained from beginning to end.

Gwenllian of Ruardean is no great beauty,
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Why do I avoid Medieval romance? Wasn’t it all rain and mud and bloody battles and ugly chain mail and poor hygiene back then? *gives history degree a sidelong look* Yep. How can that be romantic?

Apparently the answer is: get Elizabeth Kingston to write it.

This felt properly medieval. It really is all mud and blood and castles and sword fights. There is an earthy quality to the writing which is absolutely on point for the time period. Even the way the characters think feels entirely appropriate
I enjoyed the hell out of this book. Sometimes I didn't want to, but I did.

This is not a fluffy romance novel. This is not a book about hero that is rough and feared but then magically changes because love. This is not a book about a boyish girl who rebels against wearing dresses.

This is a book about romance between two people that could kill in a blink of eye. (Although only one of them actually does). Ranulf is the king's killer. Gwenllian was raised to be the warrior leader of her people. Gw
Written in an old-fashioned grammatical syntax which transport the reader to 11th century Wales. I loved the Heroine for most of the book, battle trained, a natural leader. Engaged in a careful balance act fitting in among both men and women, but not quite belonging to either side. It's the closest description of gender fluidity I've come across in a traditional M-F romance novel. For the most part wonderful, the resolution and ending to this captivating slow-burn romance lets it down somewhat.
*The Angry Reader*
This was wrong book wrong time. We’re leaving on vacation tomorrow at 3am. I got up at 5 today after staying up late last night so that I can fall asleep early tonight. Yesterday and the day before our rental house had a major malfunction - and it’s been so stressful. Plus I’m slammed with work as everyone tries to catch me while I’m still in town.

Amidst all this my escape is the Bargain Basement Jaime and Brienne. I’ve read this before. Except it was better. He was way more charming. And she d
Lady Gwenllian of Ruardean became a child bride by proxy and before she even laid eyes on her much older husband, she was made a widow by the murderous blade of her husband's teenaged foster son. It was the first of many lives taken by Ranulf Ombrier in the name of the King. Unmatched in sword combat, he has gained notoriety as the King's Man, his highly efficient killer. For his loyalty, he has been awarded his first victim's title and the Morency keep and lands - lands which Gwenllian and her ...more
Jul 10, 2018 is currently reading it
Shelves: ebooks-i-own
Buddy read with my buddy, Nenia. I'm looking forward to some

medieval murder
Christopher Rice
A total impulse buy thanks to a recommendation from Leah at The Ripped Bodice here in LA. Loved the period, and loved the high-stakes romance. It never felt like a sugar coated vision of Medieval England. The very real and dangerous conflicts between dueling families, knights and royals only made the romance stand out in more vivid and intoxicating relief, a ray of essential light in a time of widespread war and darkness. In terms of tone and atmosphere, think GAME OF THRONES without the magic o ...more
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the first medieval historical romance I've read, and I have to admit that for some reason the time setting was a little off-putting to me at first. There was just something strange about leaving my comfort zone of 19th century Britain to delve into the world of England and Wales in the 1280s. The story was also slow-moving for about the first half, gradually setting up the characters and the plot points that would come into play in the rest of the novel.

Once I let go of my Regency/Victor
Not worth it even if it's free.

Heroine is "Too ugly to rape." Qutoed by the hero.

Thanks Trish for sparing me this read.
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I remember reading Meredith Duran's Duke of Shadows for the first time and thinking, who in the world busts onto the scene with a book this fantastic?

Though ultimately this book wasn't quite the same catnip for me that Duke of Shadows was, I had very similar thoughts while reading this debut novel: thoughts like hey, get it girl! and I'm glad I've got a good champagne on hand to pair with this book, along with other corny things I'm known to say aloud and in my head from time to time. And if y
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit I enjoyed this book much more than I was expecting to. I could blame it on the quality of Nicholas Boulton's narration, as it was the first audiobook I listened to, but that would be unfair to Elizabeth Kingston's talent.
My reticence had to do solely with the time period of the story. I had never read a medieval romance (at least, not that I can remember right now) and I was afraid the setting wouldn't interested me. Gee, I couldn't have been more wrong. I felt immediate curiosity ab
Oct 09, 2016 rated it liked it
2.5 stars

It must be me. With such high reviews, I really wanted to like this book but it was just meh. And, slow. So slow. Slow on the romance, slow on the action, slow on the pacing. Plus, I had a really hard time feeling the chemistry between the H and h. The author describes the hero as uber handsome but the heroine as a plain Jane. Not just plain but ugly, as in crooked teeth, dull hair. Call me shallow but I want my heroine to at least be somewhat attractive to actually attract the hero, mu
This would have been 5 stars, but the ending seemed kind of abrupt, like there was still a tension that needed to be resolved and I wanted an epilogue.

Also, I didn't really get into it until around the 30% mark because the writing style was weird to me. I understand that since the novel is set in the 13th century, Kingston was trying to make the language more historical sounding, but it was weird. My english major brain was constantly like "this is not how Old English was structured! Old Englis
I read a lot of historical romance, but rarely any medieval. This book takes place in the late 13th century before Edward I gained total control over Wales. (This would've been after the invasion and smaller campaign against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd but before the subsequent rebellion that led to total conquest, for anyone familiar with this.) I think it's a very interesting period in British history for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Edward I himself. He had a strong personality and ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh, be still my beating heart! I'm all excited because I've read two excellent HRs in rather quick succession. One, the newest Jayne Fresina story, is more lighthearted, witty, warm and romantic... and this one, oh, this one! It's one of those intense, complex, complicated ones with superior writing and an historical backdrop that feels real. No laughs here but lots of feels--drama, angst, love, tenderness, action, adventure, intrigue. It's all here and more.

The setting is 13th-century England a
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent character development. Warrior woman with skills. Interesting historical time period. Enemies to lovers trope. Anti-hero who never really relinquishes everything that makes him an a**. Real life, not fantasy. Just a wee bit depressing.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars. I started this ages ago and liked it at first. Then I started to lose interest in the storyline so I put it aside for a while, and forgot about it, actually. I finally picked it up again, and quickly got drawn back in to Ranulf and Gwenllian's story. (Not sure of the Welsh spelling LOL). I ended up ripping through the last 2/3 of the book in a day or so. Now I wish I'd finished it sooner....

I don't read much medieval, and at times there was a little too much poli
Jayne Castel
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medieval-romance
I loved the grittiness of this historical romance.

It can be difficult to portray a ‘warrior woman’ in romance, without resorting to cliché or creating a parody or watered down character who could never have, in reality, survived. However, our heroine is a tough young woman who has been groomed by her mother to one day lead the Welsh against the English king.

Gwenllian of Ruardean learns early on how difficult it is to be a female warrior in a man’s world; in order to maintain her position as a
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Elizabeth Kingston lives in Chicago, where she can be found gleefully subverting tropes and inventing new ways to make fictional people kiss. When there's time for it (hint: there's always time for it) she shouts loudly about the intersection of historical romance and white supremacist narratives. Lipstick, ski

Other books in the series

Welsh Blades (3 books)
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