"Epic." ~ Drue's Random Chatter Reviews.
From the critically acclaimed, award-winning pen of Kim Iverson Headlee comes the thrilling, poignant tale of love across a vast social divide.
WINNER, 2015 BooksGoSocial Best Book.
Betrayed by her father and sold as payment of a Roman tax debt to fight in Londinium's arena, gladiatrix-slave Rhyddes feels like a wild beast in a gilded cage. Celtic warrior blood flows in her veins, but Roman masters own her body. She clings to her vow that no man shall claim her soul, though Marcus Calpurnius Aquila, son of the Roman governor, makes her yearn for a love she believes impossible.
Groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps and trapped in a politically advantageous betrothal, Aquila prefers the purity of combat on the amphitheater sands to the sinister intrigues of imperial politics, and the raw power and athletic grace of the flame-haired Libertas to the adoring deference of Rome's noblewomen.
When a plot to overthrow Caesar ensnares them as pawns in the dark design, Aquila must choose between the Celtic slave who has won his heart and the empire to which they both owe allegiance. Trusting no man and knowing the opposite of obedience is death, the only liberty offered to any slave, Rhyddes must embrace her arena name, Libertas—and the love of a man willing to sacrifice everything to forge a future with her.
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the midtwentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet.
Kim has been an award-winning author since 1999 (Dawnflight, Simon & Schuster) and has been studying Arthurian lore and literature for nigh on half a century.
Refresh your spirit and allay your fears by laughing along with what Mark Twain might have written about today’s political falderal.
Gyan is a Caledonian chieftainess by birth, a warrior and leader of warriors by training, and she is betrothed to Urien, a son of her clan’s deadliest enemy, by right of Arthur the Pendragon’s conquest of her people. For the sake of peace, Gyan is willing to sacrifice everything...perhaps even her very life, if her foreboding about Urien proves true.
Roman by his father, Brytoni by his mother, and denied hereditary rulership of his mother's clan because of his mixed blood, Arthur has followed his father's path to become Dux Britanniarum, the Pendragon: supreme commander of the northern Brytoni army. The Caledonians, Scots, Saxons, and Angles keep him too busy to dwell upon his loneliness...most of the time.
When Gyan and Arthur meet, each recognize within the other their soul’s mate. The treaty has preserved Gyan’s ancient right to marry any man, providing he is a Brytoni nobleman—but Arthur does not qualify. And the ambitious Urien, Arthur’s greatest political rival, shall not be so easily denied. If Gyan and Arthur cannot prevent Urien from plunging the Caledonians and Brytons back into war, their love will be doomed to remain unfulfilled forever.
But there is an even greater threat looming. The Laird of the Scots wants their land and will kill all who stand in his way. Gyan, Arthur, and Urien must unite to defeat this merciless enemy who threatens everyone they hold dear.
Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate's Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people's lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.
Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman…unless it snows in July.
Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman "squire." But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.
From the award-winning, critically acclaimed pen of Kim Iverson Headlee comes the fall of Camelot as you have never seen it before.
The death of their mother knells the death of any hope for a joyful future for Gyan’s identical twin daughters, Gwenhwyfar (“Yfarryn”) and Gwenhwyfach. Their father, Arthur the High King, wastes no time in announcing firstborn Yfarryn’s betrothal to Medraut—the man whom Gwenhwyfach secretly loves. And Yfarryn is in love with Angusel’s son Lannchu.
The twins conspire to defy Fate and trade places. They know how ambitious is their scheme, for Yfarryn is trained in the domestic arts and Gwenhwyfach has chosen the warrior’s path, yet the sisters are confident of success. The wedding and its accompanying night come off without a hitch… for both of them.
Fate, however, shall not be defied.
Incorporating ancient Welsh legends of the “False Guinevere” and “Feasting the Hungry Man,” and featuring many characters introduced in Dawnflight, Morning’s Journey, and Raging Sea, this glimpse into their destiny, thirty years after the setting of those novels, reveals the destruction of Arthur’s realm that’s unique in all of Arthurian literature.
Praise for other Arthurian works by Kim Iverson Headlee:
“Intense.” USA Today (Dawnflight)
“Solidly entertaining.” Publishers Weekly (King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court)
The gauntlet is thrown. One must die. Refusal is not an option.
Arthur the High King of Breatein has fallen captive of a longtime enemy, the Saxon warrior-princess Camilla, who lusts to avenge the death of her betrothed at Gyan’s hands and will stop at nothing, even the black arts, to achieve her goal.
Now Gyan must face all her demons—public as well as private.