The King’s Tale, by Rowena Sudbury
Kings, knights and gallant M/M lovers –
Story blurb: Though Dafydd is the fourth son of Welsh nobility, when he leaves his home he becomes a humble woodsman in small kingdom of Lysnowydh on the sea. During a fierce storm, a stranger seeks shelter in Dafydd’s remote cottage. He is no ordinary traveler-he is Christopher, King of Lysnowydh. The wild passion that flares between them rivals the storm, and love moves King Christopher’s heart to name Dafydd Marshal of his troops to keep him close. However, love is never simple or safe when it must endure the pressures of political life. Though Dafydd proves himself in battle, Lysnowydh’s nobles protest his rise in position and power. Forces will conspire against Dafydd and Christopher, and they must endure treason, treachery, and the demands of a kingdom requiring an heir to secure their happiness together.
Available in e-book format – 592 KB
About the author: Rowena Sudbury lives in southern California with her husband, son, and their wonderful rescue dog. Her love of reading was born in the fifth grade, and she began writing soon after that. Writing has always been her passion and escape from the real world.
Rowena finds herself thinking through the minds of her characters quite often, to the point that she always has to carry a small journal with her so she can capture their thoughts and weave them into stories when she gets home.
Review by Gerry Burnie
One of my favourite eras for historical fiction is the so-called “Middle Ages” (5th – 15th centuries); that over-romanticized age of knights and castles of which every boy once dreamed—when they weren’t fantasizing about being a cowboy—and I was one. Therefore, when I saw the mediaeval castle and misty setting on the cover (tastefully designed by Mara McKennen), and read the blurb for The King’s Tale by Rowena Sudbury [Dreamspinner Press, 2009], I was in.
Although she has written other novels since, this is her first, and to her credit she has done her research on the period fairly well. She has also avoided the temptation to over-romanticize it, for it was nothing of the sort. Indeed it was barely out of the Dark Ages when life was “nasty, brutish and short.”
The two protagonists are Dafydd, nicely portrayed as a humble woodcutter of noble lineage, and Christopher, well portrayed as a prince and king, almost but not quite enlightened. The use of a snowstorm to bring them together is a bit trite, but it is as good a device as any other, and so they are brought together in an isolated cottage in the forest. Needless too say in a time when artificial morality had not yet become the law of the land—not even in Rome—two healthy, robust males, soon found something more fulfilling to do than twiddling their thumbs. Fair enough.
But then Christopher takes Dafydd to live with him at the castle, much to the bewilderment of Dafydd, and subsequently names him Marshal of his troops (equivalent of general in United States). It is not a politically-correct move on account of the discord it causes among his other generals, and identifies Christopher as more of an idealist than a commander, but as king he has the final say. In this case, however, it proves to be a wise decision for Dafydd is fiercely loyal to Christopher as his king and lover—reminiscent of the Theban warrior-lovers.
As a first novel this is a fairly interesting story, both from the standpoint of a historical fiction and romance, but it also contains the sort of room for improvement one would expect. Most particularly the plot lacks maturity (subtlety), inasmuch as several parts seem contrived to facilitate the author’s need to get to the next scene or situation, and not the reader’s logic.
For example, Christopher’s decision to take Dafydd to live with him (literally) at the castle—I mean how else was the plot going to keep them together? The coincidence of seamstress just happening to have enough material on hand (in the Middle Age’s) to fashion Dafydd a suit of clothes, and Dafydd’s ability to marshal the troops like an experienced officer. I doubt whether these things happen so conveniently in real life, either then or now, so they are bound to fly in the face of the readers’ experience.
Altogether, though, it’s a fairly good depiction of the times, and worth a read from this standpoint of view. Three bees.
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The sales are in for Two Irish Lads and Nor All Thy Tears for 2011, and these are very gratifying—especially for e-book sales. Most gratifying of all, however, are the sales for my beloved Two Lads. Although I released this book four years age (March) it is still attracting readers in remarkable numbers. Way to go, guys.
If you would like to learn more about any of my books, or to order copies, click on the specific cover below. Two Irish Lads and Nor All Thy Tears are available in both Kindle and Nook formats. Publisher’s price, $4.95.
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