Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Cold Light of Dawn by Anna Belfrage - #review

After Henry of Lancaster’s rebellion has been crushed early in 1329, a restless peace settles over England. However, the young Edward III is no longer content with being his regents’ puppet, no matter that neither Queen Isabella nor Roger Mortimer show any inclination to give up their power. Caught in between is Adam de Guirande, torn between his loyalty to the young king and that to his former lord, Roger Mortimer.

Edward III is growing up fast. No longer a boy to be manipulated, he resents the power of his mother, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer. His regents show little inclination of handing over their power to him, the rightful king, and Edward suspects they never will unless he forces their hand.

Adam de Guirande is first and foremost Edward’s man, and he too is of the opinion that the young king is capable of ruling on his own. But for Adam siding with his king causes heartache, as he still loves Roger Mortimer, the man who shaped him into who he is.  Inevitably, Edward and his regents march towards a final confrontation. And there is nothing Adam can do but pray and hope that somehow things will work out. Unfortunately, prayers don’t always help.

The Cold Light of Dawn is the fourth in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord and his king.



Having read the 1st three books in this series (see the graphic banner above) and reviewing Under the Approaching Dark, I could not wait to get my hot little hands on The Cold Light of Dawn by Anna Belfrage.

Before you even open the books, you see that the covers reflect the tone of the words inside.  UTAD is dark and stormy.  The Cold Light of Dawn looks like it would be cold, bleak and barren.  Ok, and the noose up front and center doesn't exactly paint the rosiest of pictures, either.

Edward (III) should now be king in his own right. His mother and her lover, Roger Mortimer, are not really gift-wrapping the position, wealth and power that comes with the office.  I'm sure 'king in name only' is a rather awful place to be.  Edward has all the zest of young adulthood, and is very aware of his place in the kingdom, and it galls him that his mother should betray him in this manner.  I could go on (and on) about how the nobles (supposed leaders of the country) are some of the least noble people in the kingdom.

Luckily there is at least one truly 'noble' man, Adam de Gironde, in the court.  His duty is to Edward III, but he used to be under Mortimer's command before Morty (read what lack of respect you will into that familiarization) because became the queen's pet, so Adam finds it hard to go against that former loyalty, even when it appears the interests of Edward and the regents are at odds.  I'm (silently) cheering my little heart out in support for Adam as he navigates the murky and often dangerous waters of duty in the Middle Ages - his duty to his king, to his former lord, and to his family.

Reading this series has always inspired me to do a little digging into the actual history of the time and the relevant geography.  I also maintain that you can learn a lot of history (usually in a much more enjoyable fashion than textbook-ese) from historical fiction in general and Ms. Belfrage's writing in particular.

The Cold Light of Dawn is highly entertaining and informative, a perfect continuation of the story from the previous installments in the series.  I felt contemporary to the characters and events (that happened hundreds and hundreds of years to go.  And I absolutely recommend this book for avid and casual readers alike.



Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

Other than on her website,, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.




Click on the banner above to go to the tour page, where you will find links to other reviews of t his title.  You can also find out how to sign up to BECOME A BLOG HOST FOR FUTURE BOOK TOURS while you are there!

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.)


  1. Thanks so much for hosting Anna's blog tour & for your great review! I'm so glad you enjoyed The Cold Light of Dawn!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

  2. I always enjoy my historical fiction and the research I do around it too. I am so glad you've been able to enjoy this series and as I haven't heard of it before, I'm going to have to look into it.