Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Fire and The Fury - Anita Mills

Amid the flames of royal revolt their hearts burned with a fierce, wild love... Raven-haired, emerald-eyed, no noblewoman in all Britain was more beautiful -- or more defiant -- than Elizabeth of Riveaux. She refused to accept any man after a disastrous first marriage left her with a secret shame. Now, as royal factions warred for England's throne, she galloped with her knights-in-arms toward Harlowe, the border castle that was her birthright. But out of the mists came a traitor's ambush -- and a dark, handsome Scottish lord who used his broadsword to save her life. Even her shrewish tongue couldn't stop the kisses of her rescuer, Giles of Moray. Unbidden, unexpected, passion's fire enveloped them, driving Giles to pledge his freedom and fiefdom to win her. All he demanded in return was her total surrender to their love...

In this fourth book of the series, Mills goes back to her larger than life characters with the story of Catherine and Guy’s older daughter, Elizabeth. A young who knows her place in society and the meaning and responsibility of belonging to her family but that has also suffered a bad loveless and unhappy marriage and has no intentions of going through that again. She wants to take part in her family’s political agenda and since her brother has his own lands to protect she convinces her father to let her be his steward at Harlowe instead of her brother.

The problem with Elizabeth is that not only she is determined and strong willed but she also ruled by her pride and her station. On the way to Harlowe her party is attacked by brigands, she is rescued by a bad of men who despite being good fighters don’t look very wealthy. Elizabeth hates being ordered about and confronted by their leader and on arrival to Harlowe orders his arrest in a bout of bad temper. When she realizes that she made a mistake and that she should be thankful to him as he saved her life it is already too late. Her grandmother Eleanor tells her who he really is, Giles the Moray – also known as The Butcher – and she is unsure of how to deal with him since he is not the lowly mercenary she thought he was.

Giles de Moray is a strange man. In Elizabeth he sees a sort of kindred spirit. A woman of strength and resilience who can give him the sons he wants not to mention the alliance with her family. When she wants nothing to do with him he resorts to desperate measures and kidnaps her. He then proceeds to convince her that he is nothing like her first husband and together they can be happy and have what they both want... children, land, and influence. Elizabeth’s attraction to him helps her make a decision and truth be told once reaches it she immediately writes her family to tell them she is safe and with Giles of her own choice. But her father and brother are already on the way...

Elizabeth feels deeply the responsibility of not letting her father down and the only problem between her and Giles is that she wants to go back to Harlowe to fulfil her oath. Giles is divided between supporting Stephen or King David of Scotland as none wants to help him in dealing with his father in law but war is unavoidable and he leaves.

The plot thickens when Elizabeth’s ex father in law kidnaps her and Giles will have to rely on her family to come for help with saving her and one of his keeps. In the end one feels that they are one well matched pair even if Elizabeth likes to flaunt her status for most of the story.
Grade: B

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