Dark Winds Rising by Mark Noce. St. Martin’s Press, December 2017.
Finally, finally, the wait is over! You can–if you haven’t already–get a copy of Dark Winds Rising, the second in the epic historical series about a Welsh queen who stepped into her power in order to help her people.
The first book in the series is Between Two Fires. That work shows Queen Branwen’s strength of intellect and the strength of her heart as she accepts that the man she married is not her true love.
Now, in Dark Winds Rising, she must face the Queen of the Picts when raiders land on the shores of Wales. A mysterious assassin intent on killing her young son haunts her trail as she moves between different areas. The leaders of various areas would rather maintain their petty feuds with each other than join forces against the enemy, so the queen has her hands full.
Oh, and by the way, she’s pregnant. Provides a whole new angle on that modern mom thing, right? Even though sometimes young kids make it feel like Pictish raiders are marauding through your home!
Well, Queen Branwen never shirks her duty to her people or her country. Although taking her son with her on the road exposes them both to additional dangers, the assassin leaves her no choice.
The scenes in camp between her and her husband, Artagan, are some of the best in this book. They show the real dynamics between men and women during the medieval times while providing Branwen with enough room to move in her own direction.
Plus, the touching moments with the family are heightened outside stone walls. Readers participate in very warm and moving interactions between parents and children. And yet the tension never gives way, which of course gives those intimate scenes all the more impact.
This second title in the series is pitch perfect from front to back. You won’t a single place where you lose interest or where you feel lost. You will be thoroughly immersed in Branwen’s world, her time, and the rugged beauty of Wales.