The year is AD 450. The Roman Empire wanes as the Medieval Age awakens. Attila the Hun and his horde conquer their way across Europe into Gaul. Caught between Rome’s tottering empire and Attila’s threat are the Frankish tribes and their ‘Long-Hair’ chiefs, northern pagans in a Roman Christian world, and a people history will call the Merovingians.
A young widow, Arria longs for a purpose and a challenge. She is as well versed in politics and diplomacy as any man … but with special skills of her own. The Emperor Valentinian, determined to gain allies to help stop the Huns, sends a remarkable envoy, a woman, to the Assembly of Warriors in Gaul. Arria will persuade the Franks to stand with Rome against Attila.
When barbarian raiders abduct Arria, the Frank blue-eyed warrior, Garic, rescues her. Alarmed by the instant and passionate attraction she feels, Arria is torn between duty and desire. Her arranged betrothal to the ambitious tribune, Drusus, her secret enlistment by Valentinian as a courier to Attila the Hun, and a mysterious riddle—threaten their love and propel them into adventure, intrigue, and Attila’s camp. Rebels in a falling empire, Arria and Garic must find the strength to defy tradition and possess the love prophesied as their destiny.
Military spouses deserve our respect. They keep the home fires burning while their 'other half' is off serving his (or these days, her as well) country. Arria went to the battlefield and held her dying husband in her hands. Next thing you know, her father, a Roman Senator, has shipped her off to Gaul as an emissary, and betrothed her to a up and coming military man (Drusus).
Trouble is, on her way there, their camp was attacked by a tribe of barbarians. Arria is about to be assaulted and possibly killed by one of the enemy, when the man falls over, an axe embedded in his back. She has been rescued by two 'long-hairs', a term given to the nobility of a certain Frankish tribe. And the sparks start to fly between Garic and Arria.
I confess, I was routing for Arria and Garic. That Drusus was ... well, this is at most a PG-rated blog, so I can't tell you what Drusus was ... but imagine something really nasty and you might come close. I haven't loathed a villain this strongly in a long time. But that good in a way, because it keeps the story humming along at a nice pace. Let's just say he starts out with believing anyone not Roman is 'beneath' him and that women are brainless possession good for just one thing. And then he gets mean.
I've never been one for colloquial terms for human genitalia, and there are a number of those in this book. And while you can usually 'fade to black' in a love scene, it's difficult to do that with the description of a sexual assault. The content was not overly graphic, but if that isn't your cup of tea, you should be aware of that when putting this book on your TBR shelf.
Now, I got an e-copy of On the Edge of Sunrise for review, so I didn't really get to see the cover until I started setting up this post. Woof! Despite what I said in the previous paragraph, I've been 'admiring' bare-chested powerful men since Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner in The Ten Commandments...and I think I have just dated myself!
I am glad to hear that the sweeping saga of On the Edge of Sunrise will continue in book 2! I'll be looking forward to another trip to the 5th century when that arrives.
MEET THE AUTHOR
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my objective review. Post contains affiliate links.)