Between Two Fires

  • by Mark Noce
  • Narrated by Barrie Kreinik
  • 12 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales' last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King. But the fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen becomes the target of assassination attempts and courtly intrigue.
A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan, her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.
Branwen's story combines elements of mystery and romance with Noce's gift for storytelling.

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Most Helpful

An epic tale!

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales' last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King. But the fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen becomes the target of assassination attempts and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan, her world threatens to tear itself apart.

Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

MY TAKE
I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator did a fabulous job.

This is quite the gritty tale. The mentality toward women of this age is a powerful theme in the book. Pawns, marriage tokens for political maneuvering, "brood mares," and the victims of the violence of warfare, left to raise the children forced upon them because of rape--if they were left alive at all.

Poor Branwen begins the story as the daughter of a jerk king married off for the political connection to another jerk king. I have little patience with political and power machinations, and her life is rife with them. Poor kid. She wants so bad to more than just a possession.

You know there's something about Artagan when he first makes his appearance and saves Branwen's life in what will be the first of many attempts on her life. As she struggles finding her place, her love grows for the young hedge knight. Together they must face many things, including the possibility of losing each other. There's also a bit of a mystery in the book.

There's a fair bit of war violence, and open door bedroom scenes. There is some detail but not what can't be skimmed over if those bother you.

Branwan's growth is a little slow in coming. I was frustrated at times with how long to took to come into her own. But when she does, she comes into it with a vengeance.

4 1/2 stars
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- A Voracious Reader "Mom Weave"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-31-2016
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio