Friday, May 26, 2006

A Dark Champion by Kinley MacGregor

I have to admit to being a little confused as to how the MacAllister books and the Brotherhood series all fit together, but I'll get to that later! All I know is that this book follows the events of Simon's story in Where's My Hero.

Fearless men, their allegiance is to one another, to the oppressed, and to the secret society known as the Brotherhood of the Sword -- and they must never surrender to the passionate yearnings of their noble hearts.

A Lady of Love

Beautiful, peace-loving Rowena knows that Stryder of Blackmoor is a warrior, and is therefore a man to be shunned.

But something burns in the eyes of this powerful knight that she has never seen in others of his kind: a tenderness, and a need to love and be loved. Yet to enter his world would be madness -- against every principle by which she has lived her life -- so she must resist the yearning that would draw her into his arms.

A Man of War

Duty bound to battle for right, Stryder has never desired the comforts of home and hearth-- until he gazed upon the exquisite face and form of the incomparable Rowena. He dares not succumb to her sensuous charms, for Stryder is a man sworn to know no love. But when treachery and danger threaten, the noble knight must stand as the unsuspecting lady's champion -- though his actions could cost him his honor, his heart. . . and his forbidden dream of happiness.
We first met Stryder in Where's My Hero, where he was the target of many a fair maiden who wanted nothing more than to spend time in the arms of one of the greatest knights of their day. This pattern continues in this book, with the lengths that Stryder needs to go to avoid any of the maidens being almost slapstick comedy at times. Whilst Stryder is not averse to the pleasures of the flesh, he is not looking for any kind of commitment, and he most certainly is not looking for a wife.

Lady Rowena is a young heiress who holds for her husband to be a great amount of lands, with key importance to the safety of the crown of Henry and Eleanor. Rowena knows what she wants in a husband - she wants a peace loving troubadour who will sing her ballads of love...and mean them. She would prefer not to marry but if she is going to, she wants more than a marriage for political reasons or convenience. She wants love.

When King Henry sets them up to be married (somewhat implausibly it must be said!) Rowena and Stryder both resist, but when a murderer starts killing people, and attempting to blame Stryder, Rowena proves to be more than just a friend. She also starts to see that beneath the knight there is a man with a good and noble heart who only does what he does so that he can help others.

I liked Stryder...Rowena I wasn't quite so keen on but that's okay. It felt that there was quite a bit of background happening in this book - a lot of setting the scene for future books as well as explaining why Stryder is the way he is and whilst that is fine it did kind of take me away from the book at various points. The various other characters that are introduced are all presented in such a way as to make me want to read their stories. I'm not quite sure how many Brotherhood stories MacGregor is planning to right as she has a LOT of profiles up on the pages on her website!

One thing I can't get my head around is the series order of these books. On this page on the author's website, the reading order for the Brotherhood books is Born in Sin, Taming the Scotsman, Where's My Hero, A Dark Champion and then Return of the Warrior, whilst on this page the order is that the tie in books are Master of Desire then Where's My Hero, and then the actual Brotherhood books are Where's My Hero and then A Dark Champion and Return of the Warrior. So it seems that even the author is even confused about which books are part of the series and which are not!! I guess either way I just have Return of the Warrior to go at this point in time.

Why does that bother me so much....just does!! Okay?? I'm not pedantic about many things but reading a series in order is one of them!

Rating 3.5/5


  1. I haven't read this book,though I did read a couple of her others, including Where's My Hero. I have to say I'm not too keen on SK as KM. I think she does much better as SK, but that's just my opinion.

    I can't help with the order, but Grace or Dylan might be able to. They've read all of the books in the series, I think.

    Good review!

  2. I haven't read any SK yet.

  3. Hmm, you really should. I'm starting to get a bit frustrated with the way her series (the Dark Hunters) is headed, but even I can't dispute that they're very well written and excellent stories. I'd highly recommend them. At least up until Sins of the Night. After that, read at your own risk. LOL

  4. I'll finish the Brotherhood series and then I will get onto her SK books after that...eventually!

  5. Hey Marg,
    The way I understood the order was that:

    Master of Desire (Draven)
    Claiming the Hero (Bradin MacAllister)
    Born in Sin (Sin)
    Taming the Scotsman (Ewan)
    Where's My Hero (Simon)
    ..are apart of the MacAllister series.

    Then the books in The Brotherhood of the Sword series consisted of:
    Born in Sin
    Taming The Scotsman
    Where's My Hero
    A Dark Champion (Stryder of Blackmoore)
    Return of the Warrior (Christian of Acre)

    Now, I just assumed that The MacAllister and Brotherhood of the Sword series, overlapped. That Sin was not only a MacAllister, but also apart of the Brotherhood?? Likewise, Simon (brother of Draven from Master of Desire) is good friends with the MacAllister family and also apart of the Brotherhood. I think! LOL. As you can tell from my explanation, it's all very hazy to me too.

    I think the best course of action, if you're going to read these to start with the MacAllister series, then the Brotherhood, that way you'll be reading in order and not spoil anything for yourself.

    Have you read any of the books prior to Stryders? If not, I highly recommend Born in Sin. Also, it's a good idea to read in order for these, especially if you're particular about it. You'll pick up certain things throughout the series, and then you'll be anxious for certain things to happen in future books, if you choose to continue. Dylan and I are very anxious for Lochlan MacAllister (the oldest MacAllister) to finally get his story...among other things. *grin*

    I hope I helped a little, hehe not confuse you some more. :o)

  6. Okay wait, I have a correction make..I made an error in saying that Sin is apart of the Brotherhood. In actuality, he was held prisoner with them by the Saracens but he was never one of the Brotherhood. So the link between Sin and the Brotherhood, is that he is best friends with Simon (who is one of the Quinfortis).

    *sigh* Okay, I hope thats right now. LOL.

  7. This is the one that nailed the coffin shut on KM for this reader. I started it, got about one chapter in and had a headache from rolling my eyes so much. I just found it idiotic to have a 60's flower child transplanted into medieval times. I really hadn't liked the book before that one although I did finish it, but this was the one that said this author is no longer for me - in either form.

  8. Grace, I get Sin's book being included in The Brotherhood series, but not Taming the Scotsman unless it is to do with the missing brother!!

    I have now read all of these except Return of the Warrior which I am hoping to pick up at the library tomorrow if I remember!

    You can find what I though of the other books by going to the index! Overall though, Born in Sin is my favourite too! only had one more book in the series to go.

  9. Or you could simply read them in copyright order, which intermingles the MacAlisters with the Brotherhood but keeps things in order at the same time.

    So far, my favorite is Born In Sin but I also enjoyed Bradin's and Christian's stories.

  10. I guess...but that would appear to be too logical Bev!!

  11. I really liked this series...I loved Christian's story but I thought Stryder's story was good too.



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