by Denise Hampton

January 2003
ISBN: 0-06-050910-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

The Warriorís Game is an interesting treatment of a familiar theme in medieval romances. The young woman, in this case a widow, is dependent upon a noble of higher rank to make her marriage arrangements. Usually political in nature, these unions were often less than desirable, with unsavory noblemen currying favor with unscrupulous liege lords.

This is the situation for Lady Amicia de la Beres. A young widow, she has been brought to the court of King John as his ward, until such time as he decides to marry her to another nobleman. She has languished at court for months, wishing with all her heart that she could go home to her manor house in Sussex. Anywhere at all would be preferable to Johnís court, where her reputation and her virture are constantly in peril. And the most dangerous man of all was the king himself!

When she manages to thwart King Johnís latest advances, she does not expect to become a pawn in one of his many games of intrigue. John likes nothing better than to pit people against each other, twisting the circumstances so that he gets what he wants in the end. In this case, he wants Lady de la Beres for himself. However, he made a rash promise on the battlefield several months ago, and the courageous knight has come to collect on the royal decree. Sir Michel de Martignys, a mercenary, whose reputation is as black as his armor, has decided to take a wife. He may as well choose one with a little bit of fire - Lady de la Beres will be perfect.

While the characters in this novel are quite charming and well-written, the most interesting part for me was watching them try to outwit their monarch. Both Ami and Michel have their own reasons for wanting to thwart Johnís plans. If, in the process, they discover that they are the perfect match, well then that will irk John even more!

Reviewed in May 2003 by Paula.

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