by Isolde Martyn

June 1999
ISBN: 0-7338-0199-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books
Mass Market Paperback

Isolde Martyn seduces her reader in The Lady and the Unicorn with a story full of intrigue, passion and love, in a period of war and rebellion where brotherly love counts for nothing and trust is worth kingdoms.

In the year 1470 Margery of Warwick rejoins her guardian's household after six years in a nunnery. Margery is the bastard of a fallen noblewoman; she was found guilty of being in the King's bed, and now discovers that her guardian, the Earl of Warwick is wanted for treason. To add to her problems, Richard Huddleston (the king's receiver) abducts Margery as the household flees from King Edward IV's approaching army. Richard is to bring her to Edward, but can't help baiting her, longing for any reaction, which might indicate that she returns his desire. He follows her to the Court of the French King, Louis XI, where her mission as King Edward IV's spy takes her. Finding themselves in the middle of a deadly game for thrones and kingdoms, Margery and Richard must find the courage to love and trust each other.

Isolde Martyn is a writer who not only has an extensive knowledge of the 15th century due to a thorough research, but also the talent to weave all the gathered information and knowledge into a story that is epic, vivid and realistic - one that provides the perfect escape from present day reality. And even though it demands a fair amount of concentration and willingness to absorb names and places, Isolde Martyn has not included a single unnecessary scene in her story, never giving the reader's mind a chance to get bored and wander. She not only gives an accurate description of the setting in its period, but also a believable account of her characters' feelings towards its norms and customs.

In a story where the trust of a unicorn for its maiden can bring its downfall, historical figures are brought to life with witty dialogue; Ms. Martyn displays an excellent command and use of language rich in historical detail. All the characters, no matter how minor, never fail to call forth a response from the reader.

You can't but help fall in love with the hero, a man strong and handsome, witty and persistent, who is never weak, but honourable and full of admiration for his beloved lady; a man whom you want to be cherished by. As for the heroine, it would be difficult to find one stronger and prouder, one filled with more courage and spirit. And don't we all want to identify with such a lady!

Isolde Martyn's debut novel immediately puts her in the company of the best historical romance and historical fiction writers; better tales are hard to come by!

Reviewed in September 2001 by Kris Alice.

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