Friday, December 27, 2013

Rebel Review by Vicki Taylor

Linda Windsor rounds out her Brides of Alba Series with an action-packed story of political intrigue and spiritual warfare. Rebel steeps Alyn O’ Byrne and Kella O’Toole in the mire of the last days of King Arthur’s reign. From the intricacies of the royal court to the revelation of personal secrets, this book is a page-turner from start to finish, especially for those who enjoy the romance of Arthurian legend.

Though significantly different from the Arthur taught in college lit. class, this series sparks a renewed interest in the facts surrounding the legend. Windsor places Arthur’s Court in the late sixth century, congruent with the only documented account of the historic Arthur. Though the characters and conflicts are similar to the stories found in classic British literature, Rebel’s basic premise revolves around the fight for Britain’s ecclesiastical future. 

The story opens with the death of Merlin, the leading druid/Celtic Christian priest in the kingdom. His absence creates a void of spiritual leadership that Modred, a high priest in the Celtic church, believes he has the right to fill, but Arthur’s preference for this honored position is Roman archbishop Cassian. The battle for power between the British and Roman churches ignite the struggle that eventually rips Arthur’s kingdom apart.

Main characters Alyn and Kella are thrown into the middle of the fray when Queen Gwenhyfar entrusts the two with ensuring the safe transport of historical church documents. The relentless antagonism between King Arthur and his cousin Modred has sparked religious discord among their countrymen that incites full civil unrest. With the population divided from within and the threat of the invading Saxons from without, Alyn and Kella embark on a perilous journey.

But completing this royal quest isn’t their only challenge. Alyn, a scholar of both religion and science, must overcome the guilt he feels over the death of a friend and accept his role as God’s prophet to the rulers of his generation. Kella, hiding the secret of an unplanned pregnancy, entreats Alyn to help her find her father and her betrothed, both of whom are missing from battle and presumed dead. Desperate to find hope for the future, these two old friends are forced to face outlaws, traitors, and the truth about themselves. It is in that truth that they find the freedom to love and the strength to overcome all the obstacles they face.

 Rebel is an incredible story with a perfect balance of action and romance and more than a hint of insight into the politics of religion that continues to impact our society today. Linda Windsor does a masterful job of weaving history, legend, and imagination into a narrative that brings the Arthurian legend to life like few others. I highly recommend this book and its counterparts in The Brides of Alba Series.

To find out more about Linda and her books, you can visit her website or make plans to meet her in person at this year’s conference. We hope to see you there!

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