A woman saves her Highland clan by answering to the call of war -- and the promise of a magical love....
THE WOMAN Alainna MacLaren is the last hope of her Highland clan. According to the legend of the Stone Maiden, the ancient enchantment that protects her people will fade -- unless Alainna weds a man who is willing to adopt her name....
THE KNIGHT Sebastien le Bret is a hardened knight with noble aspirations. He agrees to help Alainna in exchange for her land, and will fight to protect her people -- but he has no intention of forsaking his name to marry her....
Another book set in the Highlands! I guess I got in the mood after enjoying Child of Mist so much. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed this one too.
Alainna’s clan is being decimated in the feud that opposes them to a stronger and treacherous clan. To save her beloved Kinlochan she goes to petition the king for champion, a strong warrior who by marrying her will take ownership of Kinlochan and defend it from their enemies, said champion must also take her name so Clan Laren will continue to exist.
The king, however, has more pragmatic ideas. He wants a champion there yes to protect his lands and guarantee the clans fealty but he is not really concerned if he is of Celt blood as Alainna would like or will take her name. With that in mind he sends Sebastien le Bret, a trusted warrior who has proven himself, but someone whose personal problems and inclination lead him to want to travel to Brittany instead.
Both Alainna and Sebastien were not interested in marriage but his oath to the King forces him to protect Alainna and her clan. They are thrown together while thinking how they are going to achieve peace for the people and fulfill the king’s command and as they get to know each other they realize that they are not that different, they both want to care and protect their family, they are both faithful to the oaths they make but while Alainna has her clan near, Sebastien has his son in Brittany and that’s why he plans to leave as soon as he can.
Due to the feud and wanting to avoid more complications they enter in a handfast relationship. While they plan not to have a physical relationship so it will be easier to separate after a year and a day the fact is that eventually they can’t resist the attraction. Alainna will then have to fear for Sebastien while the feud is not ended and they’ll both have to examine their priorities and decide where their fate lies.
There were many things that I liked in the story; there was a true sense of clan and deep friendship between the main and the secondary characters. King included the magic and storytelling that are a part of their culture, there was the legend of the Stone Maiden who had protected Clan Laren for 700 years and all this was seamlessly intertwined with the story. The atmosphere was part of the story and their preoccupations very much in accordance with their situation.