Between Two Fires
By Mark Noce
Author website: http://nocestories.blogspot.com/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King. But the fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen becomes the target of assassination attempts and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan, her world threatens to tear itself apart.
Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.
Reminiscent of classics like The Mists of Avalon and A Game of Thrones, and newer popular titles like Hild, Branwen’s story combines elements of mystery and romance with Noce’s gift for storytelling.
I love historical novels set in the days of castles, kings and queens. Between Two Fires did not disappoint. Lady Branwen is a wonderful main character and the tale told through her voice is gripping and enthralling. I loved the scene descriptions and I am not one for over setting information. This however was told with the flair of a voice that resonates with the time, Wales 600 AD. Author Mark Noce writes with intensity and a fierceness that comes through in character Lady Branwen and those surrounding her. Saxon barbarians are threatening to finally destroy her world as she knows it. She becomes the last hope for her family, kingdom and citizens.
Lady Branwen is betrothed to the intense and feared warlord – The Hammer King. Her father has made all the arrangements. The alliance should help to stave off the encroaching Saxons. Enemies try to stop the marriage before it can even happen. Her journey to his home is dangerous and only thanks to a rogue knight named Artagan. He seems to be there when she needs him and his appeal is undeniable. She is at the center of such a hectic and savage time and court intrigue; assassins and war threaten to derail all she is attempting to safe.
The action is sweeping, intense and thrilling. The court intrigue is suspenseful and fierce. The battle scenes are excruciating and full of energy. The descriptive writing style of author Mark Noce really brings this sweeping tale to life. I could feel the pain and angst of Lady Branwen. Her growth is amazing. I was held enthralled reading and could not put the book down. Some historians may find the information a bit off, but for the casual reader like myself the historical notes driving the story are perfect. I am not a big fan of romance, but this book had just the exact amount of love and courting. Nothing overt thankfully.
Any fan of the likes of shows such as Reign, the Tudors and Vikings will really love Between Two Fires. Fans of books set in historical war torn Wales will also enjoy this read. I love the writing style of this author and I am usually not a fan of male writers in the genre. The characters are wonderful and the action jumps off the page. This is immensely entertaining and full of everything a read in this time frame should be. With just the right amount of romance (reminiscent of Robin Hood and Maid Marianne) this novel was a delight to read.