Be advised that all is not what it seems in Kris Kennedy’s DEFIANT which will keep readers riveted to the end to figure out what is!
This medieval novel set in 1215 just prior to the Magna Carta, is packed with the treacherous politics, divided loyalties, rogue knights, renegades and mercenaries driven by perilous secrets and redemption that keep us glued to each page. With a plot centering around a country seething in preparation for civil war and the lives of the four people who may have the ability to alter its course, Kennedy grabs our hands as we jump right in. From the first line.
In fact, Kennedy’s editor must have been thrilled that she took to heart, the call by editors trumpeted throughout the publishing industry, ‘hook ‘em with the first line.’
“At first it appeared they both wanted the same cock.”
And away we go!
Kennedy has an incredible ability we revere in writers such as Karen Hawkins, Margaret Mallory, Jaime Rush and Lisa Marie Wilkinson to name a few among many, to grab our attention, sit us down and plant a book or e-reader in our hands with the promise that their novel will deliver the non-stop read overflowing with action, to die for characters and plot twists we so desperately crave.
Defiant is such a book.
Jamie Lost is King John’s most renowned commander, a bold knight ordered by the king to kidnap an exiled priest before rebel forces close in. But when the mysterious Eva, who with the young Roger under her protection, undertake the same mission – rescue Father Peter – both lose their target to competing mercenaries.
Plucky Eva is a winsome, brave and unexpected renegade unafraid to go up against this brave, tormented knight. Sworn to protect Father Peter and Roger from their fates, Eva knows her own secret may be the most dangerous to them all. But Jamie too, harbors a stunning revelation and betrayed during his mission, his anguished soul finds comfort and renewal in Eva who relates to his pain and the exhaustion of carrying a lifelong secret.
But when Father Peter is captured by the sinister Malcolm Gouldin who announces he’ll auction off the priest to the highest bidder, Jamie and Eva are forced into an uneasy alliance that culminates in both revealing their ultimate, independent secrets that readers will be stunned to discover thanks to one of Kennedy’s brilliant plot twists. Not to be left out, Father Peter has a secret of his own to reveal showing the power of love in terrible times.
Together, the little group embarks on an epic journey hiding the truth about their identities, their unexpected loyalties, and the inescapable attraction sure to seal their destinies forever.
Jamie, ably assisted by his sworn protector, the fiercely loyal Ryland, and Eva with her charge Roger, develop a kinship as they search for the same man across rugged countryside, fight their way out of entrapments and protect their secrets for as long as they can before they face the King and their country about to come apart.
The brief introduction of a tortured but likeable Angus juxtaposed to the treacherous Cigogne, Chance and FitzWalter provides a kaleidoscope of characters to gauge this unstable period against while we take the measure of them all and their roles in this conflict and their mission.
Sensual characters whose arcs and conflicts establish a rhythm of uninterrupted action that paces the story beautifully, feels effortless for the reader despite its complexity. The consummation of a well-developed love story is as exciting as it is passionate providing for some hot scenes that fit the story without being over the top.
Lushly detailed so that we smell the stench of city, wrinkle our noses at unwashed bodies in taverns and glory in the magnificent freedom of the unfolding countryside, Kennedy weaves in the various personalities and their perspectives expertly to provide a well-rounded journey. Hard riding, harsh living conditions and spare bathing and unending battles are realities in this era and authenticate this gripping medieval novel under Kennedy’s skilled pen.
Defiant is another of Kennedy’s keepers bringing a spectacular read to fruition wrapping everything nicely together from compelling characters, intrigues and unexpected turns with even pacing so that this story jumps off the page off the pages to hold readers in its grip