by Kim Iverson Headlee
In a violent age when enemies besiege Brydein and alliances shift as swiftly as the wind, stand two remarkable leaders: the Caledonian warrior-queen Gyanhumara and her consort, Arthur the Pendragon. Their fiery love is tempered only by their conviction to forge unity between their disparate peoples. Arthur and Gyan must create an impenetrable front to protect Brydein and Caledonia from land-lusting Saxons and the marauding Angli raiders who may be massing forces in the east, near Arthur’s sister and those he has sworn to protect.
But their biggest threat is an enemy within: Urien, Arthur’s rival and the man Gyan was treaty-bound to marry until she broke that promise for Arthur’s love. When Urien becomes chieftain of his clan, his increase in wealth and power is matched only by the magnitude of his hatred of Arthur and Gyan—and his threat to their infant son.
Morning’s Journey, sequel to the critically acclaimed Dawnflight, propels the reader from the heights of triumph to the depths of despair, through the struggles of some of the most fascinating characters in all of Arthurian literature. Those struggles are exacerbated by the characters’ own flawed choices. Gyan and Arthur must learn that while extending forgiveness to others may be difficult, forgiveness of self is the most excruciating—yet ultimately the most healing—step of the entire journey.
Excerpt: from Chapter 6: An Unexpected Visit
Arthur lifted her off the floor to carry her up the stairs.
Gyan laughed, wrapping her arms about his neck. “I think I can make it by myself, Artyr.”
Passion smoldered in the steely depths of his eyes. “The abbot had his plans for this reunion, and I have mine.” He kicked open the bedchamber door, laid her on the bed, bolted the door, and joined her.
“But the other guests—”
“Are staying at Port Dhoo-Glass, where they’ll board their ships on the morrow.”
“Part of the plan?”
“A well-received suggestion.”
She bit her lip and frowned, hating her next question. “Will you be leaving in the morning, too?”
“Only if my lady so commands it.”
She buried her fingers in his hair, guiding his head closer. “I think you know your lady won’t be doing any such thing.” Before he could reply, she pressed her lips to his.
BOOK TRAILER (with older cover by Jennifer Doneske): http://youtu.be/Bk0uPDfq7TY
Anyone who’s read my previous Kim Headlee reviews knows I’m a bit of a fan. So going in to Morning’s Journey I had pretty high expectations and was so happy not to be disappointed. On the contrary, it was even better than I hoped. Headlee’s action scenes jump off the page. Swords were clanging in my ears and arrows wooshing past my shoulders. Gyan is one of my top ten favorite heroines, she is strong and fierce, not letting anyone stand in the way of what she wants. Sometimes to a fault. Another great facet of Kim Headlee’s writing is her ability to make you feel so emotionally connected to the characters even when they are doing something that makes you want to scratch their eyes out. Although this story doesn’t leave you completely hanging, I certainly saw room for the continuation of this wildly imaginative version of King Arthur’s tales, something I’d welcome whole-heartedly! 5 stars and an uproarious round of applause for this free-arc-for-review read!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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 mid-twentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet.
Kim is a Seattle native and a direct descendent of twentieth-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the seventh-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.
For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her imprint, Pendragon Cove Press. She has been a published novelist since 1999, beginning with the original edition of Dawnflight (Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0671020412).
YouTube video interview: http://youtu.be/DV5iKrEIROk