Website Aleksandr Voinov / Kate Cotoner
Author: Aleksandr Voinov
Author: Kate Cotoner
On sale date: Aug 30, 2010
Miniseries: Lion's Pride
Received via NetGalley from Carina Press
Author note: My fellow historian, Kate Cotoner joined me in writing "The Lion of Kent", a series of historical stories connected to "Deliverance". "Lion of Kent" is currently drafted as about three novellas about William Raven, the main character from "Deliverance" and his past in England, his career as tournament fighter, and finally as Templar and crusader in the Holy Land. The three novellas deal with the three medieval noble obsessions: hunting, jousting and war. The first novella (about hunting) was released by Carina Press on 30 August 2010.
Squire William Raven has only one goal—to finally receive his spurs and become a knight. When his lord, Sir Robert de Cantilou, returns from a five-year crusade in the Holy Land, William wants nothing more than to impress him.
After Sir Robert’s return, noble guests arrive from France, bringing intrigue to the castle. William is oblivious to the politics, as he’s distracted by nightly visits from a faceless lover—a man who pleasures him in the dark and then leaves—a man he soon discovers is none other than his master, Sir Robert.
But William can’t ignore the scheming around him when he overhears a plot to murder Robert. He becomes intent on saving his lord and lover from those who would see him killed…
Reviewer’s note: I was drawn to read this story since I recognized the name of Aleksandr Voinov. He is part of the duo that also wrote the SPECIAL FORCES series, which I so cherish. Before I started the novella THE LION OF KENT I had no clue that it was connected to a historical anthology story titled DELIVERANCE. Apparently the story of William Raven is expanded from DELIVERANCE with three short novellas and I hope each will be released at Carina Press.
My Review: THE LION OF KENT turned out to be a five chapter short read but one that irrevocably had my attention. The length of this novella had both a strength and a weakness. The strength was that in a short time frame the strong personalities of the characters really impressed me and drew me in to the story. The weakness was the plot which hardly had time to be fully fleshed out and became somewhat predictable. Save the plot I really was charmed by what I got to sample from the joint effort of the authors.
Together, Aleksandr Voinov and Kate Cotoner create a historic setting that feels authentic and emphasizes on the way of life in the days of England anno 1176. The writing is imaginative yet isn’t overly detailed and quickly drew me in to the story where I got a very good impression of the castle life, of the life as a squire in training and the passion blooming.
William Raven has a hot temper with the reputation for being all pride and hunger to become a knight. He is so eager and in his eagerness makes mistakes showing his age, but I couldn’t help it to be enamored by him. The first person narrative definitely puts the focus on William and his emotional turmoil. It is one of the reasons I really look forward to reading the other stories and get to know him even better. His character was a live wire of passion, of personal anxieties and determination to reach his goal. The moments of sheer lust between him and Robert smoothly entwines with a thin plot that gives William a chance to expand his experience both sexually and as a man.
Robert de Cantilou was a changed man coming back from a crusade and while he remains a bit of a mystery I really enjoyed the effect he had on William. He didn’t doubt his nature, he didn’t flaunt it but neither was he hiding it either. I could respect his morals, the way he guided William and I enjoyed the way they acted and interacted together. At first William feels like almost barely contained energy which is countered by the confidence Robert possess and this interplay changes throughout the novella in a more equal relationship.
Of course there are a few more characters who play their part in the plot or challenge William and Roberts in other ways while the attraction between the two men enter another level. Still, it is William who really puts his mark on me and the intrigue of how he will fair in life a major trigger for me to be on the lookout for future novella’s regarding him!
THE LION OF KENT is a novella where passions and danger blend in to a beguiling and character driven read.