#Bookreview of THE DU LAC CHRONICLES by Mary Anne Yarde
“It is dangerous to become attached to a du Lac. He will break your heart, and you will not recover.” So prophesies a wizened healer to Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex. If there is truth in the old crone’s words, they come far too late for Annis, who defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves.
Alden du Lac, once king of Cerniw, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. He has only one possession left worth saving: his heart. And to the horror of his few remaining allies, he gives that to the daughter of his enemy. They see Annis, at best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At worst, they see a Saxon whore with her claws in a broken, wounded king.
Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to Annis is far less certain.
The Du Lac Chronicles from Mary Anne Yarde is a new story based on Arthurian Legend and the great historical/fantasy fiction tradition of Marion Zimmer Bradley, Bernard Cornwall, C.M.Grey and Kim Headlee.
The Du Lac Chronicles has a recommend reading age of 15+
This story drew me in from the beginning as Alden hung on his cross, waiting for his execution. Alden is one of the younger sons of Lancelot, and also the King of Cerniw. Trying to keep peace with the infamous Saxon warrior named Cedric, Alden agreed to marry his daughter, but his heart was already taken by Cedric’s youngest, unwanted daughter, Annis. When Cedric breaks the peace and ransacks Cerniw, he sets events into motion that changes everyone’s lives.
This was an intriguing novel for me as I’ve always been fond of the whole King Arthur, Lancelot, and the Round Table fable. Yarde paints a different picture, as she portrays King Arthur as a tyrant. Not sure I agree with that, but I could tell the story was well-researched for the time period involved.
I loved Annis and Alden’s characters, and I really wanted them to have their HEA. Though, at the end of the book it hadn’t come to light yet. Some reviewers stated that Annis was a one-decisional character. I would have to disagree. We do know who she is, why she left her family to save Alden. The problem is, her character is inconsistent. One moment she’s brave as all get out, the next, she’s just a damsel in distress, again. Annis ends up being nothing more than a door mat, especially at the end of the book. Hopefully, she’ll have more opportunity to shine in the next book.
As for Alden, he was on and off so many times with his feelings for Annis. One moment he’s lovey-dovey, the next, all she sees is his cold shoulder. This continuing conflict with their emotions slowed down the pace of the story. I understand it adds drama, but there was plenty of that with their escape from Cedric and Alden having to face his older step-brother to beg him for help in getting his kingdom back.
Their roller-coaster feelings could be forgiven, as they are both only teenagers. But I got thrown out of the story more than once as their characters acted older than they really were. Honestly, a 18 year old boy is King? For how many years? He was also married and became a widower. And there was Metron, Alden’s younger brother, maybe 16, who’s such a great fighter that other seasoned, older warriors feared him? Metron was also smart enough, at 16, to act like a mad drunk to outwit Cedric. Sigh. Some of this was just too unbelievable.
Regardless of the points I thought were odd, this story takes us on a great adventure, facing many perils, treachery, and a secret about Alden’s mother and Annis’ father. It’s a beautifully written tale and I look forward to the next story in the series and the secrets to be revealed. If you love historical romances in the time period of AD 495, you’ll enjoy this story. I give it 4 feathers.