Merrimon Book Reviews

From Medieval Book Reviews
Dark Rider
Dark Rider by Kathrynn Dennis
  by Kathrynn Dennis

Amazing debut medieval historical romance!  Horse witch or horse healer?

In DARK RIDER, Kathrynn Dennis tells a medieval tale of a man and woman brought together by their love of horses. Historical medical details and a paranormal atmosphere add a new dimension to the genre. DARK RIDER is full of tension, atmosphere, and passionate emotions. Kathrynn Dennis' historical romance novel will appeal to romance lovers, horse lovers and medieval enthusiasts alike.

On the eve of the Eighth Crusade in 1269, Robert Breton stands on the ground of Dover Beach, England as a knight-for-hire in Prince Edward's service. Dark as night, handsome and powerful, this man rides horses like no other knight. Battle weary and wounded from past conflicts, Robert has no choice but to join the Crusades despite his inner conflicts. As the younger son, Robert has no hope of making his way in the world except through the king's favor. When his horses are poisoned, Robert has no choice but to turn to the Lady Eldswythe, rumored to be a horse witch with the mark of the devil's horse on her back. The last person he wants to see is the daughter of the Earl of Crenalden, the man found next to his dying father who ran away from the scene. Nor does Lady Eldswythe relish the idea of serving Robert Breton who, with the assistance of the king, plans to claim the land of Crenalden, Eldswythe's dowered land. Even worse, everyone knows this dark knight ruined Margaret of Suttony. Despite the feud and the rumors, the two are drawn together by their dedication to the suffering horses. Can this common purpose and the powerful physical attraction between them be enough to unravel their dark past, the lies, and the current dangers? With danger lurking at every corner, will Robert and Eldswythe find a way to unravel the lies? Able to see the very spirit of the horses in their charge, will their vision extend to one another's wounded hearts?

One can't help but love the hero and heroine. Their hearts are good, noble and honorable torn by all the darkness and battles around them. The tension in DARK RIDER is palpable. Emotions are passionate and the personal stakes are high. The villains are truly wicked. Land issues divide families and create unexpected twists. The capricious king commands but he doesn't always keep his promises or promises the same thing to different people. Kathrynn Dennis adds powerful insights into her fictional representation of the Crusades as she focuses on the story of one knight and his motivations and inner conflicts. The question of horse witch or horse healer surrounding Eldswythe adds a wonderful paranormal twist to this romance while also creating finer details of Medieval and veterinarian history of the terrifying illnesses like Black Bane that plagued the times. The author, a veterinarian herself, adds a new very special window into the medieval world that combines history and a magical world while sacrificing neither. DARK RIDER is a fabulous debut romance with a unique, fresh vision!

Publisher: Kensington (Zebra) (September 2007)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Medieval Book Reviews
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