by Kinley MacGregor

May 2004
ISBN: 0-06-056541-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Stryder of Blackmoor is the most sought after knight in all England. However, the last thing on his mind is marriage. He has more serious endeavors to pursue before he can allow himself the luxury of falling in love and settling down.

Lady Rowena despises knighthood and all it represents. She has dedicated her life to singing the beauty of peace as a minstrel...and she is a most hated one at that. The last thing that she wants is a warrior for a husband, however, it seems that the King and her uncle will not allow her to marry someone more akin to her own inclinations. No, they want someone who would prove to be a strong ally in case of war.

Circumstances force Stryder and Rowena to become allies. King Henry and Rowena`s uncle want them to get married, however, the queen herself knows that things will not work out if they are forced, hence, she comes up with a plan. If Stryder wins the tournament (and he is the King`s Champion, so there is little doubt about the outcome) he will have to marry Rowena. However, Rowena is told that if she manages to teach Stryder to sing and he wins a contest to be held at the end of the tournament, she will be allowed to marry whoever she pleases. To her surprise, Stryder agrees to help her out, since he does not want to get married at all.

A Dark Champion is the first full length title in Kinley MacGregor`s new series the Brotherhood of the Sword and it brings us the story of the leader of the Brotherhood, Sir Stryder of Blackmoor. This series is a spin-off of Ms. MacGregor`s acclaimed MacAllisters series. In this new tale, Kinley MacGregor transports the reader once more to medieval England, to a world of knights and chivalry, minstrels and troubadours. The two main characters clash from the beginning. Stryder despises minstrels as his mother had a fondness for them, a fondness that eventually caused tragedy. Rowena, on the other hand, despises knights and warfare, as her father had been an honorable knight who fell victim of court intrigue, leaving her an orphan at an early age. However, the more they interact with each other the more they realize that their respective perceptions about each other have been misguided, and they soon establish a friendship based on mutual respect. A Dark Champion is a page turner in the truest sense of the word, with a quick-paced plot laced with intrigue and humor, and sporting an unforgettable cast of characters to match. If you are a fan of Ms. MacGregor, do not miss adding this title to your collection. If you have yet to try her books, you may want to start with this one. I am most definitely looking forward to the future titles in this series.

Reviewed in April 2004 by Mireya.

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