by Alice Borchardt

Reviewed by Coral

Man, I probably shouldn't have read this book without reading the first one, but I didn't even realize it was a sequel to anything.

Despite the inherent confusion that comes with reading a book without any of the backstory, there were other, worse problems that just wrecked the whole experience. I mean, I've read other books out of order before; some due to my own stupidity - Marion Zimmer Bradley's Arthur trilogy - and some due to factors outside of my control - Gemmell's inability to write his novels in chronological order, publishing them in whatever way he sees fit. But this, this was a crap book.

First off, why is Owen, a Catholic - and France was always a Catholic country - bishop, married? Isn't that against the rules?

Secondly, am I supposed to believe that two men with no stealth/sneaking ability snuck up and infiltrated a VIKING camp? That they rescued the Vikings' prisoners and fought off the raiders to escape unscathed? Yeah, right.

Then we have Rosamund, a girl who sleeps with men for pretty, shiny trinkets. When someone calls her a whore, Owen's brother gets all indignant, because she's really a sweet girl and not a whore. You know, if she wants to sleep around, it's her own body and nobody else's business. But, dude, she's having sex for pretty shiny things. Definition and example of a whore.

And why is Rosamund so much more valuable a member of her community than a women who takes up arms to protect it? Why should this woman be shamed into laying down her arms to take up cooking again?

And this is only in the first 50 pages!

Now, normally I wouldn't grade a book I barely even read, but it made me so mad I'm making an exception.

Grade: F