Congratulations! Winners Announced in the First Annual N. N. Light Book Awards! #books


n-n-light-book-awards

Welcome to the First Annual N. N. Light Book Awards! We’re thrilled to announce the winners of our awards but wanted to thank each author for entrusting us to read and review their book. Granted, we didn’t enjoy every single book we’ve read this year but we personally know how difficult it is to write and publish a book. We hope our honest reviews helped in some way.

Out of all of the 200 books we’ve reviewed this year, it was almost painful for us to choose just one winner in each category. So without further ado, here are the winners:

 

Best Fiction

Go Fast by Rod Humphris

go-fast

 

 

Best Childrens/Young Adult

Barking Madness by Ryan Hill

Barking Madness

Best Mystery/Suspense

Bring Your Own Baker by D. E. Haggerty

BYOBCV

Best Romance

The Du Lac Chronicles by Mary Anne Yarde

The Du Lac Chronicles 10 Feb 2016 KINDLE

Best Non-Fiction

Everything and a Happy Ending by Tia Shurina

EAAHE Cover (2)

Congratulations to all the winners!

N. N. Light

 

The Du Lac Devil by @MaryAnneYarde is a Must-Read! #bookreview #HistoricalFantasy


the-du-lac-devil-10-august-2016-kindle

 

Title: The Du Lac Devil (Book 2 of The Du Lac Chronicles)

Author: Mary Anne Yarde

Genre: Historical Fantasy, Arthurian, Historical Romance

 

Book Blurb:

War is coming to Saxon Briton.

 

As one kingdom after another falls to the savage might of the High King, Cerdic of Wessex, only one family dares to stand up to him — The Du Lacs.

 

Budic and Alden Du Lac are barely speaking to each other, and Merton is a mercenary, fighting for the highest bidder. If Wessex hears of the brothers’ discord, then all is lost.

 

Fate brings Merton du Lac back to the ancestral lands of his forefathers, and he finds his country on the brink of civil war. But there is worse to come, for his father’s old enemy has infiltrated the court of Benwick. Now, more than ever, the Du Lac must come together to save the kingdom and themselves.

 

Can old rivalries and resentments be overcome in time to stop a war?

 

My Review:

Think you know what really happened between King Arthur Pendragon and Sir Lancelot Du Lac? This is the real story… or at least what Mary Anne Yarde envisions it.

 

This is book two in The Du Lac Chronicles series and while it is a standalone (thanks to Yarde’s excellent backstory abilities), I highly recommend you read book one first.

 

Merton Du Lac is one of Lancelot’s sons and while he is the youngest of his brothers, his soul is weighed down by responsibility. To ease his guilt of his brother Alden’s torture by the hand of King Wessex, Merton goes off to war, wherever he can find it. Being a mercenary to the highest bidder is good money but Merton is caught between two rival armies who want Merton’s head on a spike when he gets word of the sudden death of his brother’s wife and their sole heir.

 

Merton runs into Alden and reunites with Budic as well. The Du Lac brothers are all together and this can only mean one thing: trouble. Merton is the first to sniff out the trap but before he can escape, Alton is captured and thrown in the dungeon. He can’t leave his brother and must figure out a way to free him before the noose tightens around Merton’s neck.

 

Meanwhile, Merton reunites with his deceased brother’s widow, Amandine. She’s married once again to a droll Lord in Budic’s court. A slow-burning romance between Merton and Amandine, even though Merton tries his best to squelch it. He pushes her away and confesses all his dark deeds in the hopes she’ll reject him. Instead, her pure love for him purifies his heart and a small seed of hope grows in his soul. Can she truly love him?

 

A mysterious enemy is hell-bent on eliminating all the Du Lacs and when it’s finally revealed, no one is safe. War comes to Briton and Lancelot’s sons must work together to escape death and destruction… or is it too late?

 

The Du Lac Devil is darker than book one yet so much better. Yarde has done her research and she paints an accurate portrayal of sixth century Briton. Her descriptions of everyday life is spot-on, from the layout to the castle to torture to the Church to how women are treated.

 

The best parts of this book are the background of Lancelot Du Lac and Arthur Pendragon. Yarde weaves an intoxicating tale blending history with folklore.

 

This is why I’m a fan of historical fiction. I get to imagine what could’ve been and immerse myself into a particular fascinating time period.

 

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones and/or The Vikings, you’ll love the back-stabbing/political jockeying in The Du Lac Devil. You’ll also love Josephine and Philippe.

 

I wait with bated breath for the next book in the series. I need to know what happens next!

 

Favorite Character:

Merton. I love rooting for the misunderstood often brooding underdog character. There were times when I didn’t like what the author was putting him through but I understand now why she did it. Merton is a tortured soul and yet when he falls in love with a pure soul, we catch a glimpse of the knight beneath the devil inside Merton.

 

Favorite Quote:

“An heir to the throne is hardly innocent.” He made himself smile, and he held his hand out towards her.

 

My Rating:  5 stars

 

Buy it now:

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Du-Lac-Devil-Book-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B01N0FW1RU

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Du-Lac-Devil-Book-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B01N0FW1RU

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33014836-the-du-lac-devil

 

Mary Anne Yarde Head Shot

 

Author Biography:

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

 

At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.

 

Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking—so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!

 

Social Media Links:

Blog

http://maryanneyarde.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/maryanneyarde/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/maryanneyarde

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29243164-the-du-lac-chronicles

 

Reviewed by: Mrs. N

#CyberMonday Deal: The Du Lac Chronicles by @maryanneyarde is #FREE! #books #Kindle


The Du Lac Chronicles 10 Feb 2016 KINDLE

Title

The Du Lac Chronicles

Author

Mary Anne Yarde

Genre

Young Adult, Historical Fantasy, Romance

Black Friday Through Giving Tuesday Promotion

Free on Kindle from the 25th November to the 29th November 2016

Buy Links

Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0

Amazon.co.uk

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0

Book Blurb

“An evocative, timeless saga of love and betrayal, it has rivalry and treachery enough for any ‘Game of Thrones’ aficionado.” Tony Riches, author of The Tudor Trilogy

“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.

Excerpt

“I just need to stop for a few moments.” Alden lifted his arm off Annis’s shoulder and leant against the wall. He was sweating profusely, the salt of his sweat stinging his wounds and his eyes. He honestly didn’t know how much longer he could keep this up. At least David had been right about the soldier’s barracks. It was empty. There was no way he could have fought anyone feeling like he did now.

He had always felt that he was fated to die young, but he had hoped he would at least make it to twenty ¾ so much for hope.

The acute pain passed, and he took a moment to watch Annis. He saw the way she rolled her shoulders, how she moved the heavy torch to her other hand. She must be exhausted, yet she didn’t complain. Her hair was damp and it had curled into soft ringlets. He reached forward and touched one of her wayward curls. The curl wound its way around his finger and he felt the softness of her hair. It was beautiful. The pain must be making him delirious, for he had the strongest urge to pull her closer, to learn the taste of her lips, to feel her body against his. He lowered his hand and closed his eyes, willing away the temptation.

“Thank you for not leaving me behind,” Annis said, her voice coming out a little breathless. She had not dared to move as Alden played with her hair. She knew it was not the proper thing to allow a man to touch her, but she could not bring herself to stop him. In fact, she wanted more than a gentle fondling of her hair, although what her body yearned for she did not really understand. All she knew was that he made her feel flustered and hot, excited and nervous, all at the same time. Her knuckles still tingled where his lips had brushed against them earlier, and she wondered if they would ever feel the same again.

“I will keep you safe.” He found himself promising the most ridiculous thing. He couldn’t defend himself at this moment in time, let alone her.

“I just want you to live,” Annis answered. “Thank you for what happened with David. I don’t know what would have happened if I had been left down there.”

“I wouldn’t have left you there and nor would have David. He would have worried that you would drink his wine,” Alden said solemnly.

Annis smiled softly at his teasing. “I thought about it! How long have you known him?”

“A long time.”

“How long?”

“Long enough.” Alden smiled.

“Has anyone ever told you that you are infuriating?” Annis asked.

Alden’s smile widened. “It has been mentioned.” Another wave of pain washed over him and he closed his eyes.

“Keep breathing.”

He had held his breath again; he hadn’t realised. He felt Annis’s hand on his arm and he breathed deeply of the stale, rodent-filled air. When the pain passed, she let go of his arm and stepped back.

He watched her as she looked away from him. She raised the torch so she could see a little farther down the tunnel, which looked remarkably similar to what they had just walked down. They could be walking in circles for all they knew.

For a moment neither said anything and then after a long awkward pause, Alden said, “David’s father was my father’s groom, here in Briton. David was only a boy when Arthur fell to your father’s sword. Cerdic slaughtered David’s mother and his two older brothers, but he enslaved David and his father. His father continued to spy for us and then when he died, David took over the role. That was also when David turned to drink. He didn’t handle his grief very well.”

“My father has ruined so many lives.”

“Well, he did one thing right,” Alden allowed.

“What?”

“He had you.”

Annis blushed at his words and she couldn’t hold his gaze. “We should really try and keep walking,” she said, raising her face to catch his eyes before lowering her gaze again.

He moved himself off the wall and put his arm around her shoulder. “It wasn’t luck that saved me. It was you. I asked you before, but you didn’t answer. Why did you do it?”

“You wouldn’t understand,” she mumbled in embarrassment.

“You would be surprised by what I can understand.” He tried to keep his voice conversational and light, for he saw the way her body had tensed.

She turned slowly back around and looked at him. “I did not want to see you lose your head.” She quickly looked away from him, so that he would not see her face and she would not have to look into those all-knowing eyes. How could she possibly reveal what she felt for him?

“And why would that matter to you if I did?” He challenged softly. “I am nothing to you, Annis, but another player in the dangerous game of kingship and power.”

“I apologise for saving you,” Annis said, annoyed with him for questioning her about something she could not explain without humiliating herself.

“I’m not implying I am ungrateful. I just want to know the truth. I’m having a little issue with trust at the moment.”

She stopped and sighed heavily. She could tell him part of the truth; there would be no harm in that. “My father has arranged for me to be married,” she stated.

Mary Anne Yarde Head Shot

Author Biography

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.

Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking—so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!

Social Media Links

Blog

http://maryanneyarde.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/maryanneyarde/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/maryanneyarde

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29243164-the-du-lac-chronicles

Behind the History of The Du Lac Chronicles by @maryanneyarde #history #Arthurian #books


 

Britain is a place of myths and legends. There are many stories of men and women who were exceptionally heroic. But none has captured the imagination quite like Arthur Pendragon.

 

I was blessed to grow up near Glastonbury ~ or if you prefer, The Ancient Isle of Avalon. I knew the story of Arthur from an early age, and I have been enchanted ever since.

 

However, I always felt slightly deflated by the ending of Arthur’s story. There is a terrible battle at Camlann where Arthur is mortally wounded. He is whisked away to Avalon, and that is the last that we hear of him. Likewise, his knights, if they have not already died, give up the sword enter the church and/or become hermits. I love the stories of Arthur and his knights, but I’m sorry, the ending sucks! Why would the Knights become hermits?

 

This motivated me to write The Du Lac Chronicles. I was determined to carry on the story and write about what happens next.

 

I wanted to keep the story as historically accurate as I could, but at the same time, I didn’t want to take away the legend that we love. So I studied the work of Monmouth and Malory as well as all those brilliant French poets. I wanted to know the legend inside out, and then I would bring the history of the period into the tale.

 

You cannot ignore the Saxons when you look at this era. This is their time. I needed to know about them to make this book authentic in the telling. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles was a good starting point. I spent hours cross-referencing this book with other sources and trying to figure out what was real and what was fictitious.

 

I became fascinated with Cerdic of Wessex, the first Saxon King of Britain, and I was staggered by how much he achieved. He came over and conquered the south of Britain and by AD 519 he declared himself King. He was the perfect antagonist for my knights. I had to include him in the story.

 

The Du Lac Chronicles is also set in Brittany and in fact, The Du Lac Devil, which is book 2 of the Chronicles (and will be out later on this year), is set primarily in Brittany. I needed to get a handle on Dark Age Brittany as well as Dark Age Britain. I have to admit there was a moment where I wavered. I started to think that maybe I could work around Brittany and not include it in the story. I was reading the most fantastic myths about Brittany, but not so many facts. However, in the legend, Lancelot comes from Brittany. So it made sense for his sons to come from there as well.  I waded through the myths as best as I could, and I came across a fascinating king called Budic and as I read about him, I realised he was exactly what I had been looking for. Budic is often associated with the legendary King Ban of Benwick. I wanted Budic and his castle in my story. So he is!

 

I also discovered that the trade links that the Romans had initiated, for the most part, remained in place. Brittany continued to have strong ties to Britain. The Breton language has striking similarities to the Celtic and Gaelic language of the mainland. One can assume that not only did the British trade with Brittany, but they also moved there and in some instances took control of parts of the country. Cornouaille, which was the kingdom that Budic ruled, seemed to have had direct trade links with Cornwall, maybe he had family there as well?

 

I talk a great deal about Cornwall – or Cerniw as it was known then – in The Du Lac Chronicles. Cornwall has a long association with Arthurian Legend and with the apparent links to Brittany I felt it needed to be included, which is why Budic’s brother Alden, ruled this beautiful kingdom.

 

The Du Lac Chronicles is set a generation after the fall of King Arthur, and I wanted to create a story where the knights did not end up in monasteries and then disappeared into the shadows of history. I wanted to write about what happened after Arthur died. In particular, I wanted to write about the changing ‘Saxon’ world that these knights now found themselves in.

 

The Du Lac Chronicles follows – through the eyes of Lancelot du Lac’s sons – Cerdic of Wessex’s campaign to become High King. The world the du Lac’s had known was to be changed forever by this one man’s determination to enslave the kingdoms under the Saxon yolk. In my story, these men, these knights, do not die easily, and they certainly do not become hermits!

 

The Du Lac Chronicles 10 Feb 2016 KINDLE

 

Title: The Du Lac Chronicles

Author: Mary Anne Yarde

Genre: Young Adult Medieval Fiction

 

Book Blurb:

“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.

 

Excerpt:

It was a poor meal, Alden thought as he broke off the meat and handed some to Annis. They would need something more filling than a small bird if they were to survive. He wondered if they dared try and find a village to stock up on supplies, not that they had any coins to buy anything with. It was a bad idea, really, for nobody liked beggars, and they would probably be hounded out of the village by pitchforks. Still, he had to think of something. He frowned as he chewed. Kent was an option. It was close and he was on good terms with the king. They would be safe in Kent and it wasn’t that far away. Yes, Kent. He had wanted to reach Cerniw, but Kent was a better option, especially if Cerdic’s men were raping the place, as Bors had suggested.

 

“We are heading for Kent,” Alden announced, his mind made up. It was a logical plan.

 

Annis lowered the meat she was about to put in her mouth and looked at him.

 

Alden popped some more meat into his mouth and chewed slowly.

 

“Kent?” Annis asked. To her, Kent was as far away as the moon. She had never stepped foot out of the lands that surrounded her father’s castle.

 

“I need to know what is going on. King Oeric has always been an ally and he has a good fleet of boats.”

 

“But you could be caught. My father will have placed men at the border. Surely he will guess you will head that way,” Annis argued.

 

“I was caught last time because I surrendered. I can promise you, I will not be caught again. And as for your father, he knows as well as I that there are several places I could go. I do not doubt that Kent has crossed his mind. But this time, I am looking for him, so the way I see it, I have the advantage.” He frowned. “Eat,” he ordered, popping some more of the meat into his mouth. “I will not have it said that I starved you.”

 

She brought the meat halfway to her mouth again and stopped. “How long will it take to get to Kent?”

 

“A day, maybe less, depending on the weather.”

 

“And if the weather isn’t kind?”

 

Alden laughed. “Forever the pessimist,” he mocked gently. “If the weather isn’t kind then I am guessing it will take longer.”

 

Annis blushed. “I know that,” she mumbled. “I’m sorry for being…” Her words faded into nothing as she sat and stared at the flames.

 

“For being what?” Alden queried.

 

“Oh nothing, forget I said anything. It was a stupid question and…”

 

“And?” he encouraged, noting her change of tone and the way she would not look at him.

 

“And I know I am not very good company and I slow you down, and if it wasn’t for me you would probably be in Kent by now.” He tried to interrupt, but she would not let him for she had too much to say. “I cannot cook to save my life. I have no idea how to look after myself. If anything happened to you, I would die within days. My father is a monster. My body feels like it has been trampled on by a herd of raging horses. I am dirty. I smell. And I hate my knees,” she huffed.

 

“Your knees?” Alden asked, bemused, for he had not expected such a torrent of words from her and being a mere man, he did not really understand her point.

 

“Never mind my knees. You are right. I am a pessimist. I learned very early on not to look forward to things, because then, I would not be disappointed if they did not happen. And I have had a great many disappointments. I hate my hair. I hate curls. I hate the fact that I am a Saxon. Sometimes I hate myself. And now I am rambling, and no doubt making a fool of myself. I am completely useless, am I not?”

 

“You lost me with the knee thing. Can you repeat the rest again?”

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0

Amazon.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0

 

Mary Anne Yarde Head Shot

 

Author Biography:

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury–the fabled Isle of Avalon–was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.

Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking–so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!

 

Social Media Links:

author@maryanneyarde.com

 

https://www.maryanneyarde.com/

 

Twitter @maryanneyarde

 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/maryanneyarde/

 

Blogspot http://maryanneyarde.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Amazon Author’s page http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Yarde/e/B01C1WFATA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

The Pitchfork Rebellion: The Du Lac Chronicles by @MaryAnneYarde #bookreview #MFRWAuthor


The Pitchfork Rebelion

 

Title: The Pitchfork Rebellion: The Du Lac Chronicles – Novella

Author: Mary Anne Yarde

Genre: Young Adult Medieval Fiction, Arthurian Fiction

 

Book Blurb:

From the author who brought us The Du Lac Chronicles…

 

When the devil wanted to destroy the world he would do so with fire. Alden du Lac knew this for a fact, because the devil had come to Cerniw.

 

Alden may have driven the man who tortured him from his lands, but he can do nothing to drive him from his dreams.

 

Alden has become bitter, angry and unrecognizable to those who love him. The only person whom could possible bring him back from the brink is his younger brother Merton. But even Merton is at a loss as to what to do.

 

As Alden seemingly wars with himself, there is a new threat to the kingdom. A threat that nobody foresaw, or could have possibly predicted…

 

The adventure continues in this beautiful novella.

 

The Du Lac Chronicles – The Pitchfork Rebellion from Mary Anne Yarde is a new story based on Arthurian Legend and the great historical/fantasy fiction tradition of Bernard Cornwall, C.M.Grey and Kim Headlee.

 

The Pitchfork Rebellion has a recommend reading age of 14+

 

My Review:

Alden and Annis have returned to Cerniw but it’s far from wedded bliss. Alden is drowning in his own guilt and can’t stand to look at his wife, no matter that she needs him desperately.

 

Nightmares haunt Alden and the demon in his dreams is Annis’ father, Wessex. Hatred for the Saxon burns in his belly and nothing helps. He abandons his pregnant wife, turning a blind eye to the animosity that his people have for his new wife.

 

Merton, meanwhile, knows Annis is in danger and does everything in his power to protect her. She’s very pregnant and both her and the unborn child are in jeopardy, thanks to unrest in Cerniw’s people. He tries to make Alden see the truth but Merton fails to break through the darkness. It’s only when the people revolt that Alden sees what he must do.

 

I’m a huge fan of this series and while this is a darker story, I loved it. Alden’s guilt, Merton’s devotion, Annis’ torment all combine to make this a captivating read. Historically accurate, realistic character development and a bridge between book one and book two (releasing Fall 2016) all combine in this well-executed novella. I’m waiting with bated breath for the next installment.

 

If you love historical/Arthurian fiction, pick this up! It’s only 99c/p.

 

Favorite Character:

Merton. He’s the shining light in this dark short story. He’s protective of Annis and takes care of her while Alden broods. He’s patient with Alden and tries to talk sense to him. He’s quickly becoming my favorite character in this series.

 

Favorite Quote:

“I don’t want them to follow me because they are afraid. If we do that then I am no better than Wessex.” ~ Alden

 

My Rating:  5 stars

 

Buy it now:

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Pitchfork-Rebellion-Lac-Chronicles-Novella-ebook/dp/B01ENJONZQ

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pitchfork-Rebellion-Lac-Chronicles-Novella-ebook/dp/B01ENJONZQ

 

Mary Anne Yarde Head Shot

 

Author Biography:

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury–the fabled Isle of Avalon–was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

 

At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.

 

Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking–so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!

 

Social Media Links:

author@maryanneyarde.com

 

https://www.maryanneyarde.com/

 

Twitter @maryanneyarde

 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/maryanneyarde/

 

Blogspot http://maryanneyarde.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Amazon Author’s page http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Yarde/e/B01C1WFATA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Reviewed by: Mrs. N

#BookReview ~ The Du Lac Chronicles by @MaryAnneYarde #historicalromance #medievalmonday


The Du Lac Chronicles 10 Feb 2016 KINDLE

 

Title: The Du Lac Chronicles, Book 1

Author: Mary Anne Yarde

Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Medieval

 

Book Blurb:

AD 495, Wessex, Briton.

 

If all you had left was your heart, would you give it to your enemy?

 

A generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.

 

The powerful Saxon King, Cerdic of Wessex, has spent the last twenty years hunting down Arthur’s noble knights. He is determined to secure his kingdom against any reprisals for killing their legendary leader. The knights who have survived the genocide are destined to spend the rest of their lives in hiding, never revealing who they really are.

 

The only knight who refused to be intimidated by this Saxon invader was Lancelot du Lac. Lancelot and Cerdic formed a fragile truce, but Lancelot has been dead these past eight years and it has fallen to his sons to protect Briton from the ambitions of the Saxon King.

 

Alden du Lac, the once king of Cerniw and son of Lancelot, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. Cerdic has had Alden tied to a post and ordered his skin to be lashed from his back. In the morning, if Alden is still alive, he is to be executed.

 

Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex, has been secretly in love with Alden for what seems like forever. She will not stand by and see him die. She defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves from her father’s dungeons. Alden and Annis flee Wessex together.

 

To the horror of Alden’s few remaining allies, he has given his heart to the daughter of his enemy. Alden’s allies 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.

 

 

My Review:

King Arthur (Pendragon) is long gone and Briton is shattered into warring kingdoms. King Cerdic of Wessex is determined to be high king of all kingdoms. He’s just defeated King Alden of Cerniw, son of Lancelot, and whipped him within an inch of his life. Death can’t come quick enough for Alden but then an angel rescues him on the eve of his execution.

 

Annis can’t stand by and watch her father butcher the man she’s loved for years. She sacrifices everything she’s ever known to save a man who doesn’t care about her. Or does he?

 

The two flee in secret and what happens next is a journey of discovering who to trust, who to love and what happens when you give your heart to your enemy. When they make their plea to Budic, the King of Brittany, will Budic turn them away or will they stand together against the enemy, Lord Cerdic of Wessex?

 

Set in the harsh landscape of 5th century Briton, The Du Lac Chronicles, Book 1 is one of the best Medieval books I’ve had the pleasure to read since The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I was captivated from the first page until the very last. I was saddened when it ended. Annis and Alden became a part of me and in all honesty, I dreamed about the book twice. I was swept up in their struggles to escape death, their attraction to one another and the harsh realities of what their future will be.

 

Mary Anne paints a clear picture of life in war-torn Briton and the historical accuracy only made it more real for me. Everything from the dress worn by the characters to the dialogue to the portrayal of real historical figures to the harshness of life made this book shine. The grief and guilt Alden feels for losing his kingdom tugged at my heart. Annis is a heroine I love because she’s not afraid to speak the truth and rescue those she loves. I can’t wait to read the next installment in this series.

 

If you love historical fiction with dashes of romance, please pick up this book. Fans of Arthurian fiction will love this as well.

 

Favorite Character:

… not named Annis or Alden has got to be Merton. He’s Alden’s brother and they are very close. They have a bond that grows stronger with time and when secrets are revealed, my heart broke for Merton. He’s a tortured soul, in more ways than I can count, but there’s no question if I was in battle, I’d want him protecting me. Best thing about Merton is his one-liners, especially his encounter with King Cerdic of Wessex.

 

Favorite Quote:

“Alden closed his eyes and breathed deeply. She had won. Cerdic had captured his lands and now Annis had conquered his heart. The battle was over.”

 

My Rating:  5+ stars

 

Buy it now:

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1519224435

 

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0

 

Mary Anne Yarde Head Shot

 

Author Biography:

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

 

At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.

 

Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking—so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!

 

Social Media Links:

author@maryanneyarde.com

 

https://www.maryanneyarde.com/

 

Twitter @maryanneyarde

 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/maryanneyarde/

 

Blogspot http://maryanneyarde.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Amazon Author’s page http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Yarde/e/B01C1WFATA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Reviewed by: Mrs. N

The Du Lac Chronicles by @maryanneyarde is a Best-Selling #Arthurian Adventure! #bookpromo #YA


The Du Lac Chronicles 10 Feb 2016 KINDLE

 

Title: The Du Lac Chronicles

Author: Mary Anne Yarde

Genre: Young Adult Medieval Fiction

 

Book Blurb:

“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.

 

Excerpt:

It was a poor meal, Alden thought as he broke off the meat and handed some to Annis. They would need something more filling than a small bird if they were to survive. He wondered if they dared try and find a village to stock up on supplies, not that they had any coins to buy anything with. It was a bad idea, really, for nobody liked beggars, and they would probably be hounded out of the village by pitchforks. Still, he had to think of something. He frowned as he chewed. Kent was an option. It was close and he was on good terms with the king. They would be safe in Kent and it wasn’t that far away. Yes, Kent. He had wanted to reach Cerniw, but Kent was a better option, especially if Cerdic’s men were raping the place, as Bors had suggested.

 

“We are heading for Kent,” Alden announced, his mind made up. It was a logical plan.

 

Annis lowered the meat she was about to put in her mouth and looked at him.

 

Alden popped some more meat into his mouth and chewed slowly.

 

“Kent?” Annis asked. To her, Kent was as far away as the moon. She had never stepped foot out of the lands that surrounded her father’s castle.

 

“I need to know what is going on. King Oeric has always been an ally and he has a good fleet of boats.”

 

“But you could be caught. My father will have placed men at the border. Surely he will guess you will head that way,” Annis argued.

 

“I was caught last time because I surrendered. I can promise you, I will not be caught again. And as for your father, he knows as well as I that there are several places I could go. I do not doubt that Kent has crossed his mind. But this time, I am looking for him, so the way I see it, I have the advantage.” He frowned. “Eat,” he ordered, popping some more of the meat into his mouth. “I will not have it said that I starved you.”

 

She brought the meat halfway to her mouth again and stopped. “How long will it take to get to Kent?”

 

“A day, maybe less, depending on the weather.”

 

“And if the weather isn’t kind?”

 

Alden laughed. “Forever the pessimist,” he mocked gently. “If the weather isn’t kind then I am guessing it will take longer.”

 

Annis blushed. “I know that,” she mumbled. “I’m sorry for being…” Her words faded into nothing as she sat and stared at the flames.

 

“For being what?” Alden queried.

 

“Oh nothing, forget I said anything. It was a stupid question and…”

 

“And?” he encouraged, noting her change of tone and the way she would not look at him.

 

“And I know I am not very good company and I slow you down, and if it wasn’t for me you would probably be in Kent by now.” He tried to interrupt, but she would not let him for she had too much to say. “I cannot cook to save my life. I have no idea how to look after myself. If anything happened to you, I would die within days. My father is a monster. My body feels like it has been trampled on by a herd of raging horses. I am dirty. I smell. And I hate my knees,” she huffed.

 

“Your knees?” Alden asked, bemused, for he had not expected such a torrent of words from her and being a mere man, he did not really understand her point.

 

“Never mind my knees. You are right. I am a pessimist. I learned very early on not to look forward to things, because then, I would not be disappointed if they did not happen. And I have had a great many disappointments. I hate my hair. I hate curls. I hate the fact that I am a Saxon. Sometimes I hate myself. And now I am rambling, and no doubt making a fool of myself. I am completely useless, am I not?”

 

“You lost me with the knee thing. Can you repeat the rest again?”

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0

Amazon.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0

 

Mary Anne Yarde Head Shot

 

Author Biography:

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury–the fabled Isle of Avalon–was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.

Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking–so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!

 

#AuthorInterview ~ Meet #HistoricalFiction Author @MaryAnneYarde #MedievalMonday


I have a soft spot for Historical Fiction Authors, especially Medieval, so when Mary Anne Yarde approached me for an interview, I jumped at the chance. She, like me, has a wicked sense of humor and loves all things Arthurian. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Mary Anne and her debut release, The Du Lac Chronicles: Book 1. Take it away Mary Anne! 

 

What is your writing process?

Before I do anything else, I will make myself a cup of tea. Then, avoiding the biscuit barrel, I will go in search of my laptop. Rescue it, if one of my children has got their hands on it, and retreat to my den – or bedroom- as it is more commonly known.

Depending on what emotion I am writing about, I will choose some music to match the mood, which can be anything from Bach to Bon Jovi. I will then power-up my computer, take a sip of tea, and start writing.

I tend to write paragraph by paragraph. I type incredibly fast, so there is a great deal of red underlining in my work – that is what I tell myself anyway – I am sure my spelling is really not that bad. I hope not anyway! I will not write more than a page without giving it a quick edit. I usually spend about six hours on a single passage, as I like to go over and over it, until I am happy with it. I know, I know…utterly mad. But only then can I move on with the story!

 

What book do you wish you could have written?

Without a shadow of a doubt, the book I would have loved to of written is Colleen McCullough, The Thorn Birds. I read that book when I was thirteen and it enchanted me. McCullough takes her readers on a beautiful emotional journey, and I have never encountered a book quite like it since. I think it will always be a firm favourite.

 

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?

There are so many fantastic authors out there and I have read so many books! Umm… Colleen McCullough would definitely be on the list. As would Nicholas Evans, who wrote The Horse Whisper. Both authors are really good at capturing the emotions of their readers. I only hope that I can do the same.

 

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

Some of the characters in The Du Lac Chronicles are reported to have been actual “historical” figures, such as Cerdic of Wessex, so their names did not take any thought at all. But for some of the others, I would try and find names that fit in with where they came from. So many of the names I have chosen were common, at the time, in Cornwall, Brittany and Saxony. I also take into consideration the meaning of the names and try to find ones that match the personality of the characters that I have created.

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

On a beach in Bermuda?

If that doesn’t work out, then I hope to be someone who can, at least, cook a mean Chicken Tikka – at the moment there is no hope of that.

I would have finally mastered the rules of Top Trumps – I swear my children cheat, because no matter what I do, I always seem to lose.

Oh, and if I could write full time as well, then that would be cool.

 

If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?

If I didn’t write, then I guess I would fall back on my music. So whichever way you look at it, I am probably going to be poor for the rest of my life!

 

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I am currently working on Book 2 of The Du Lac Chronicles. I am roughly 70,000 words in and enjoying every minute of it. There are a few surprises, which even I had not knowledge of, until they were staring back at me from the screen. Those du Lac boys certainly like to keep me on my toes!

 

Do you write naked?

Oh my days! Is that actually a question? I live in England – if it is not blowing a gale, it is raining. I write huddled up in a very thick jumper with a blanket over my knees!

But if, in five years time, you find me in Bermuda, ask me again.

 

What is your biggest failure?

Cooking. Just cooking. I cannot, no matter how hard I try, cook.

 

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I would be a culinary genius. What every I cooked would come out looking better than what it does on the recipe card. Yeah right – like that is going to happen.

 

Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?

I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t eat meat. I am not doing myself any favours here am I? I do however have a very interesting collection of warm woolly socks – does that count as a vice?!

 

Have you ever been in trouble with the law?

No. But I did once get shoved into the back of a police van and had a very uncomfortable ride across a field. Don’t ask.

 

What is the biggest fib you’ve ever told?

Back in the day, I told my boyfriend (now husband) that I could cook. Was he in for a surprise!

 

Have you ever gotten into a fight?

Only with the oven. He and I are old enemies.

 

What secret talent do you have?

I can’t tell you that – it wouldn’t be a secret then.

 

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

There are two places I have always wanted to go to. Firstly, I would love to travel to Rome and soak up all that history. Maybe one day I will. I would also love to go to Montana in America and go on one of those dude ranch experiences. I think The Horse Whisper may have had something to do with that.

What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?

I was the perfect child – my siblings may have a different opinion on that, but don’t believe a word they say. In truth, I was a daydreamer. I was never where I was supposed to be and even if I was, mentally I was in a far superior world surrounded by heroic knights on horses and dragons! My favourite toys were my collection of horses, but most of the time I would be found with my nose in a book.

 

The Du Lac Chronicles 10 Feb 2016 KINDLE

 

Title: The Du Lac Chronicles : Book 1

Author: Mary Anne Yarde

Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

 

Book Blurb:

“An evocative, timeless saga of love and betrayal” –Tony Riches, author of The Tudor Trilogy

AD 495, Wessex, Briton.

 

If all you had left was your heart, would you give it to your enemy?

 

A generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.

 

The powerful Saxon King, Cerdic of Wessex, has spent the last twenty years hunting down Arthur’s noble knights. He is determined to secure his kingdom against any reprisals for killing their legendary leader. The knights who have survived the genocide are destined to spend the rest of their lives in hiding, never revealing who they really are.

 

The only knight who refused to be intimidated by this Saxon invader was Lancelot du Lac. Lancelot and Cerdic formed a fragile truce, but Lancelot has been dead these past eight years and it has fallen to his sons to protect Briton from the ambitions of the Saxon King.

 

Alden du Lac, the once king of Cerniw and son of Lancelot, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. Cerdic has had Alden tied to a post and ordered his skin to be lashed from his back. In the morning, if Alden is still alive, he is to be executed.

 

Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex, has been secretly in love with Alden for what seems like forever. She will not stand by and see him die. She defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves from her father’s dungeons. Alden and Annis flee Wessex together.

 

To the horror of Alden’s few remaining allies, he has given his heart to the daughter of his enemy. Alden’s allies 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.

 

Excerpt:

Excerpt from Chapter 11

 

“Alden, I heard you were taken. I must say I did not believe my son when he said that he had found you.” The rest of the hall fell silent; the kind of silence one often heard when an innocent man was being sentenced to a horrible death.

 

Alden raised his head. “I escaped.”

 

“Well, I did not think he would hold you. It was a bad business. I am sorry I could not offer you troops, but we have our own problems protecting our borders from the bastard as it is. I have offered shelter to some of your kinsmen. Cerdic razed the place, Alden. Your fort was completely destroyed.”

 

A victorious army in an enemy kingdom was bound to cause devastation. Alden had feared as much.

 

“Then you have relayed my worst fears. Has a message been sent to Budic?”

 

Oeric shook his head. “The weather has been unpredictable and Merton wanted to deliver the message himself, but he has not been well.”

 

“Merton is here? He is safe?” Hope burst in Alden’s chest.

 

“He is safe. He had some minor wounds, but they have been treated.” He crossed the distance between them and lowered his voice. Annis could only just make it out. “I fear he is disturbed. He is not the man we knew.”

 

“I want to see him.”

 

“You will,” Oeric stated. “You will…later. But prepare yourself. I hear you surrendered,” he said, a faint hint of glee in his eyes.

 

Alden, who was still contemplating what Oeric had told him about his brother, looked up. “Good news travels fast.”

 

“As does bad.”

 

“It wasn’t something I wanted to do. I had no choice.”

 

“That is what they all say, isn’t it?” Oeric laughed. “And who is this fine-looking woman by your side?” Oeric turned his attention to Annis.

 

Annis raised her head reluctantly. She had never met King Oeric, although she had heard a lot about him, mainly about his skill as a warrior from her brother, who liked to talk about worthy opponents to anyone who cared to listen. His appearance surprised her.

Oeric was an old man, older than her father was. His hair was a soft white, his face wrinkled. His eyes were watery and the colour of a foggy blue sky. His clothes were lavish and skillfully embroidered. He smiled a welcome, showing gaps in his mouth where his teeth had been knocked out. Alden was right; she could see he was mentally undressing her with his eyes. He made her feel sick.

 

“What is your name, my dear?” Even the way he spoke to her was lewd.

“Annis.”

 

“Annis?” Oeric raised his bushy white eyebrows. “A pretty name for a pretty girl.” He licked his lips. “And what are you doing in the company of Lord du Lac?”

 

Alden had to stop himself from saying king. The slight on Oeric’s part hit its mark well.

 

Annis nervously glanced at Alden. “I am his wife,” she whispered, fearing the lie.

 

“His wife?” he whispered back and then he laughed, turning his attention away from her and back to Alden.

 

“You lose a kingdom, but have the time to find a wife. Where did you pick her up? The dungeons?” Those gathered in the hall laughed at their king’s jest. “What did you do, my dear? Was it something horrid?” he asked Annis, stepping closer to her.

 

Alden’s arm shot out and pulled her closer to him. “The where and why has nothing to do with you.” There was a warning in his tone that he meant for Oeric to hear.

 

“You speak to me like a King. You forget yourself,” Oeric said, his eyes blazing with anger. “You cannot speak to me as an equal anymore. Annis, Annis.” He rolled her name over his tongue. “Of Wessex?” he stated, his eyes widening. “You married his daughter?”

 

Buy Links:

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1519224435

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0

 

Mary Anne Yarde Head Shot

 

Author Biography:

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.

Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking—so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!

 

Social Media Links:

author@maryanneyarde.com

https://www.maryanneyarde.com/

Twitter @maryanneyarde

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/maryanneyarde/

Blogspot http://maryanneyarde.blogspot.co.uk/

Amazon Author’s page http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Yarde/e/B01C1WFATA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0