Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Du Lac Chronicles - Mary Anne Yarde

I received a copy of the Du Lac Chronicles after signing up to review the second book in the series. Thank goodness I did. This is a great series and while I'm sure that the Du Lac Devil could be read alone, I wouldn't want to have missed the start of this series.

The Du Lac Chronicles

“It is dangerous to become attached to a du Lac. He will break your heart, and you will not recover.” So prophesies a wizened healer to Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex. If there is truth in the old crone’s words, they come far too late for Annis, who defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves.

Alden du Lac, once king of Cerniw, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. He has only one possession left worth saving: his heart. And to the horror of his few remaining allies, he gives that to the daughter of his enemy. They see Annis, at best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At worst, they see a Saxon whore with her claws in a broken, wounded king.

Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to Annis is far less certain.

The Du Lac Chronicles has a recommended reading age of 16+

My Review

I do have a bit of a thing for historical novels. This is set rather earlier than 'my own' period, it follows the lives of the sons of Lancelot, knight of Arthurian Legend. King Arthur and Lancelot are both long gone, Cerdic of Wessex now rules Arthurs old kingdom and has his sights set on the high kingship. He has invaded the kingdom of Cerniw and taken Alden du Lac, son of Lancelot and King of Cerniew captive. Tourtured and sentenced to death, it seems that there is no escape, but Wessex's daughter, Annis risks everything to save Alden, even though it means giving up the only life she has ever known.

Alden and Annis battle their feelings for one another, whilst fleeing from Wessex and attempting to reach one of Alden's brothers; Budic. Alden needs the support of Budic and the army of Breton, if he is to have any chance of winning his kingdom back. Even if he does manage to regain his previous position, will any of his subjects ever accept a member of the enemy's family as their Queen. Everything seems to be against Annis and Alden, but they cannot help but be drawn together.

I have noticed in other reviews that people have commented that Annis was a little whiny and annoying. To be honest, I think that anyone who had be brought up the way that she has, would be unlikely to be that self assured and would no doubt be quite insecure. Either way, it wasn't something that really irritated me. I liked both Annis and Alden, although Alden's other brother, Merton, stole the show when he appeared.

I did like the way that all of the characters were fairly complex. All of the Du Lac's and Annis had different things to deal with and it was not always obvious how they would react to the situation. I think that in many ways this was a lot more realistic than other books that I've read. Battling their fears and worries made them seem like more rounded and real characters. 

This is described as a young adult novel, something that I would normally ignore. I'm not sure what exactly puts it into that genre, don't let it put you off, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I don't usually go for YA novels. While there is a strong romantic element to this story, there's also a lot more going on. 

I really loved this novel and couldn't wait for the next installment. Fortunately I was able to get hold of the novella; The Pitchfork Rebellion and I already have The Du Lac Devil, book two to read. Review to follow shortly.