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The King's Man

(Welsh Blades #1)

by
3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,339 ratings  ·  229 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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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,339 ratings  ·  229 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
...more
Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ 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 don
...more
Ingie
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
...more
Mei
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
...more
Caz
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
...more
Lyuda
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

...more
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
...more
Blackjack
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,
...more
Lyn
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
...more
Hollis
"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
...more
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,
...more
Katy
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
...more
Sarah
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
annob
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.
Wollstonecrafthomegirl
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
...more
Melissa
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
...more
Dawn
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.
Amanda
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
Ashley
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
...more
Ania
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
...more
Cathy
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
...more
Nicoletta Micillo
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ranulf Ombrier de Morency è un uomo del re , o meglio è l'assassino di re Edward. All'ennesima chiamata del re, Ranulf in cerca di redenzione si perde nelle terre al confine con i Galles e qui è aggredito dagli uomini di Gwenllian. Le ferite potrebbero essere mortali se la donna non se ne fosse presa cura. Gwenllian non è come le altre dame dell'epoca. Non ha imparato l'arte del ricamo ma bensì l'arte della medicina e della spada . È una donna guerriera per nulla avvenente . I due provano dispre ...more
Alexandra
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
...more
OLT
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
...more
Melanie
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Earlier this month this title was free, with audio narration offered at $1.99, and I just couldn't pass it up. Was I ever glad to get it! I have to say that I never got to read it because the narration done by Nicholas Boulton was amazing. He is one of those narrators that can suck you in a story and never let you go.

This is one of those medieval stories that involves two very complex characters and is filled with emotional and intense moments from start to finish.

I loved the heroine and her per
...more
Jujubee
Raw, Riveting and so very Real

Flawed in different ways, two restless, battle-weary, very human characters are thrown into political intrigues in a timeline I very much enjoy.
But its the coming together of Ranulf's lost soul and Gwenllian's conflicted heart that makes this such a satisfying, poignant journey to read. The nuances in character development and plot twists are grade A. The words these two share together are so raw, some so unforgiving, some so tender...

“In heaven or on earth, I swea
...more
Connie Cat
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, favorites
4.5 stars. Reads like a Laura Kinsale novel. And its read by Nicholas Boulton so it definitely sounds like a Laura Kinsale novel. An intelligent historical romance. The heroine is not your typical lady-in-waiting. She prefers chainmaille and sword-fighting to gowns and lady's duties. And she is not beautiful, but rather broad and masculine. So yeah, that's a little weird. And the hero has a dark past and is suffering from PTSD. But did I mention its read by Nicholas Boulton? Anything by him gets ...more
Minni Mouse
DNF at 65% because the plot moved too slowly for me.

THE GOOD
1) Gwenllian is probably one of the most uniquely memorable medieval heroines I've read in that she's super hard, tough, and physically unattractive. Crooked teeth, limp hair, tough muscles, formidable fighter, keen critical thinking -- won't need my damsel in distress hashtags for this one.

2) Thank you for not being a trashy historical romance novel.

THE BAD
Then again, this also wasn't action-oriented enough to keep my interest. Never
...more
Katherine Hurley
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, romance
I really enjoyed this one. It reminded me very much of Laura Kinsale's historical romances. The characters were complex and compelling. The story was well-developed and the historical detail a pleasure to read. I did yearn for a little more...something in the climax. It was well done, but I think I wanted Ranulf to break a little more. I don't want to overemphasize that minor critique because the plot was well constructed. The romance challenges both characters and pushes them to really consider ...more
Nanou
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: héros-doudous
Rhaaaa Ranulf *coeur coeur coeur*...

l'intrigue est bien, les personnages sont bien, l'atmosphère est bien, les dialogues.

Je lirais volontier le tome 2 ^^
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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, skinc
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Welsh Blades (3 books)
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“Even worse, she wore a dress and not armor. Worst of all, that she could never wear armor again. And secretly, quietly, the greatest guilt, one that she had only begun to admit to herself –that she did not truly hate any of these things.” 0 likes
“What if it were not to blame –the night, or his injuries, or the surprise of seeing her face in the firelight? What if it were true, that she had an advantage over him? He could not bear it, to lose again. And he was not sure that he wouldn’t, did he test her now.” 0 likes
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