Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: Arucard - Barbara Devlin


It is the year of Our Lord 1307, and by papal decree, Templar Knight Arucard of Villiers is a hunted man. One of a handful of mariners to escape the Inquisition and Philip the Fair’s treachery, Arucard sets sail for England, where good King Edward II has outlawed torture. While the Crown is more than happy to offer exile and create a new Order to accommodate the famed warriors of the Crusades, such assistance comes with a price. But is the cost one Arucard is willing to pay? 

The world in which Isolde de Tyreswelle exists defines her as chattel. Nothing more than a means to an end, she is a puppet in her unscrupulous father’s dastardly play and is thrown into the courtly arena. To further her family’s political aspirations, she is betrothed to a man she has never met and, with her husband, must fight to survive the intrigues and betrayals of her new life. With good reason, she fears men. Can Isolde learn to trust Arucard before they are destroyed by their enemies?

I was introduced to the Brethren last fall and have been in love with this author's work since then. Barbara Devlin is refreshingly accurate in her historical detail and even going as far as to ensure the characters' speech patterns are correct. That being said it may be difficult for some to follow at first if they are not familiar with historical romances and the way they spoke back then. However, if you can either overlook that or follow along, you will love every minute.

After several looks at the descendants of the Brethren, Devlin finally lets us in on the original four men who started it all. Hunted by their king under false accusations, these Templar knights must do what is contrary to everything they've stood for and run. But where can these hunted men go and feel at least a small measure of safety instead of the hangman's noose or even worse? Their choice is clear. It's off to England with them, where the English king has outlawed torture. Here they hope to get at least some measure of sanctuary. However, things are not always as they seem, for sanctuary sometimes comes at a steep price.

For disgraced Templar knight Arucard who has sworn his life and sword to the church, marriage and the expectation of providing an heir is the worse form of punishment. But for the safety of his men, he will do as the king bade and marry a noblewoman he has yet to meet. He expected a frail, spoiled noblewoman. What he got was a woman any knight would be proud to call his own.

Beautiful and heart wrenching, I read Arucard, often with my heart in my throat, unsure of what our poor Isolde must survive next. Although, that is not to say the entire story was without it's laughs. Arucard's unexceptional attempts at deflowering his bride had me in stitches. I laughed aloud so many times, my husband was starting to wonder what was wrong with me.

Historical romance lovers will laugh, cry and cheer for our unlikely but well suited couple.  

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