Monday, April 16, 2012

Dark Deceit (Anarchy Trilogy 1) by Cathie Dunn

Historical novel set in 1140s Gloucester and Normandy

On his return from battle at Lincoln, Geoffrey de Mortagne, under-sheriff of Gloucester and spy for the Empress Matilda, assists a dying knight caught in an ambush. Promising to look after the welfare of the knight’s only daughter, Geoffrey stays at her manor, investigating the murder. Keen to join the Empress on her progress through England, he is torn between his oath and his duty.

Left to defend her manor following her father’s death, Alleyne de Bellac reluctantly accepts Geoffrey’s support. As she doesn’t trust the taciturn stranger, she asks Will d’Arques, an old friend, for help. But loyalties change. Her life in danger and her inheritance at stake, Alleyne must decide which man to trust.

Discover England and Normandy divided by a brutal civil war, where vows are broken as allegiances waver.

Reviewer: BlackTulip
I had great expectations for this book and I wasn't disappointed in the least. This novel is set in medieval England and Normandy where two rival branches of the same tree fight for power. King Stephen is captured at the battle of Lincoln by Robert of Gloucester. The rivalry for the throne will lead to years of discord and civil war in England, that have been called the Anarchy.

It is in this atmosphere of chaos, constant danger, and uncertainty that this story takes place.

One morning Alleyne de Bellac has a loving parent in her life, the morning after she finds herself all alone, her father having succumbed to his injuries after he was savagely attacked by some outlaws. Her fragile world collapses and suddenly she's nobody's daughter!

Alleyne is an intelligent and spirited young woman but she is also very naive. Her lack of experience in the ways of the world makes her ill-equipped to make the right decisions. She is not familiar at all with intrigue, subterfuge, and scheming. she has no idea what greed and lust for power does to a man and that he won't hesitate to sell his soul to the devil. It's a man's world and she is like a lamb that goes to the slaughter.

In the middle of that tragedy, two men are there to help her. Geoffrey de Mortagne, under-sheriff of Gloucester and his men rescued her father when he was brutally assailed. He is an honorable but determined man and he gave his oath to Alleyne's father and for him a promise given is a promise kept. He had to take care of the Lady.

Then there is Will d'Arques, a man her father and herself have known a good part of their lives, a man she knows she can trust to help her, a man she likes very much ... Both men have their own private agenda which are poles apart.

Because of her inexperience she will put her trust in the wrong man and find herself, more than once in a perilous situation. She will need all the courage she can muster and luck to get by, but she will also have some help.

I'm not going to spoil the story by telling more here, you'll just have to pick up a copy to find out!

There are a few betrayals and twist and turns still to come and things will get worse before they get better. Hardship will only make Alleyne a stronger and a wiser woman and so she will be better prepared for what is yet to come.

I love Cathie Dunn's book for its captivating characters and vivid descriptions of these harsh and tumultuous times. I love it for its very well researched storyline and its crafty mix of fiction and history. The result is an engrossing read that I highly recommend. The hardest part now will be to wait for book 2 to be released! I give 5 stars.

Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing


Cathie Dunn said...

Thank you very much, BlackTulip, for reading and reviewing Dark Deceit. I'm delighted you enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

It was MY pleasure !

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