Sunday, September 13, 2009
The Mercenary's Marriage by Rachel Rossano
The king—along with Darius, his bodyguard—and his army men lay siege to a castle, whose Lord is responsible for plotting against the king. As the men collect the spoils of war, the young slave woman Brice escapes from the scene and is caught by Darius who takes the impulsive move to protect her by marrying her. Accustomed to abuse since childhood, Brice doesn’t trust her new husband as they continue with the army back to Darius’ homeland, where the plotting against the king continues, and his queen and sons are taken hostage. In the midst of all this, Darius and Brice must make certain decisions and face their new lives together.
This book is a quick read, and will be liked by historical fantasy readers of all ages. Rossano’s strength is in creating believable characters that move the story along, including the secondary characters. I especially liked Kurt, the healer, as I did the Professor in The Crown of Anavrea. Both times, as I read this author’s two books, with their intriguing characters from Medieval-type worlds, I wished the story continued for longer. I wished I had a few more details, could get to know the characters more intimately. I felt I wanted to know Brice a little better, as she is a quiet woman and not much is disclosed about her. I also wondered about the scheming Gwendolyn and what became of her.
Despite all this, and more importantly, I found the simple yet powerful message in this short book refreshing. Through the characters, we are taught the value of such traits as honour, compassion, justice and meekness—a quality often misunderstood in today’s selfish world that fails to realize it takes far greater strength to be meek than to be a brute. Rossano’s stories remind me of some Bible accounts where, despite the lack of details, the characters and their stories are memorable and remain with us for a long time.