Thursday, November 1, 2012

Review: The Cross and the Dragon by Kim Rendfeld

Title: The Cross and the Dragon
Author: Kim Rendfeld
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Fireship Press
Publish Date: July 15, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a Historical Fiction fan.
  • You're a fan of strong characters.
What's the Story?:

From "Francia, 778: Alda has never forgotten Ganelon’s vow of vengeance when she married his rival, Hruodland. Yet the jilted suitor’s malice is nothing compared to Alda’s premonition of disaster for her beloved, battle-scarred husband.

Although the army invading Hispania is the largest ever and King Charles has never lost a war, Alda cannot shake her anxiety. Determined to keep Hruodland from harm, even if it exposes her to danger, Alda gives him a charmed dragon amulet.

Is its magic enough to keep Alda’s worst fears from coming true — and protect her from Ganelon?

Inspired by legend and painstakingly researched, The Cross and the Dragon is a story of tenderness, sacrifice, lies, and revenge in the early years of Charlemagne’s reign, told by a fresh, new voice in historical fiction."

My Two Cents:

The Cross and the Dragon is a retelling of the legend of Roland, who is called Hruodland in this story (it's his Frankish name). I was not familiar with this legend at all before I picked up this book. This story is really the love story between Hruodland and Alda. In the 700s, these two are irrevocably attracted to each other. Thus begins a lifelong love that will sustain both Alda and Hruodland through distance and a whole host of other issues. These are two people torn apart by the circumstances of the place they live in but luckily, love conquers all.

The time of King Charles was a new time for me. I loved learning about all of the different groups of people present in this time. I also really liked learning about all of their different interactions.

I did like the love story in the book. I did find myself wishing that I could understand a little more about why Hruodland was so attracted to Alda and vice versa. They seem to fall for each other very quickly without firm reasoning. Perhaps you all know by now that I really like to understand why people do what they do and what their motivation really is. I feel like if I had known a little bit more about why these two characters fell so hard for each other, the love story would have resonated a little bit more for me.

Alda was a really stand-out character for me. She is most definitely a woman before her time. She is strong. She is not afraid to go after what she wants. When Alda's match arrangements are being made, she is not afraid to step up and tell her male family members what she wants. In that time period, I thought it showed a lot of courage. Often, women did not have a lot of say when it came to their destiny.

Bottom line: Good historical fiction with a strong lead character.


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