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When love commands, destiny must obey. Against an epic background and torn between duty and passion, Arria Felix, a Roman senator’s daughter, must choose between Rome’s decadent world and her forbidden

love—Garic, a Frank barbarian noble.

The year is AD 450. The Roman Empire wanes as the Medieval Age awakens. Attila the Hun and his horde conquer their way across Europe into Gaul. Caught between Rome’s tottering empire and Attila’s threat

are the Frankish tribes and their ‘Long-Hair’ chiefs, northern pagans in a Roman Christian world, and a people history will call the Merovingians. A young widow, Arria longs for a purpose and a challenge. She is as well

versed in politics and diplomacy as any man … but with special skills of her own.

The Emperor Valentinian, determined to gain allies to help stop the Huns, sends a remarkable envoy, a woman, to the Assembly of Warriors in Gaul. Arria will persuade the Franks to stand with Rome against Attila.

When barbarian raiders abduct Arria, the Frank blue-eyed warrior, Garic, rescues her. Alarmed by the instant and passionate attraction she feels, Arria is torn between duty and desire. Her arranged betrothal to

the ambitious tribune, Drusus, her secret enlistment by Valentinian as a courier to Attila the Hun, and a mysterious riddle—threaten their love and propel them into adventure, intrigue, and Attila’s camp. Rebels in a

falling empire, Arria and Garic must find the strength to defy tradition and possess the love prophesied as their destiny.

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Reviews:

"Definitely one for fans of the genre, but certainly worth looking at if you are not. A well-written historical romance that is accurate to the the time its set in."

Reviewer: .


Arria, noble daughter of a Roman Senator, is the widow of a Roman Captain slain in the wars with the barbarians. While on her way to meet with her new betrothed, an arranged marriage by her father, she is rescued from an assault by Garic, a Frankish warrior and his cousin Vodamir. Even though she is a noble born lady, she finds herself unable to prevent herself falling in love with the golden-haired warrior, and in turn, he finds himself torn in his love for her. But it is not an easy, or safe, love between them as they come from two different civilisations. Then there is the small matter that her future husband, Drusus, is the commander of the Cambrian area of Belgium and a cunning diplomat, who sees this as a stepping stone to power and a necessity for his own personal gain. When he finds out what lies between them, from his treacherous slave Marcella, he arranges for Garic and Vodmir to have an accident at the hands of Arria's dead husband's best friend, Severus. However, Severus has his own plans in mind and, instead of killing Garic and Vodamir, sells them as slaves to their bitter enemies the Huns, while returning with "proof" of their deaths. From this, Arria must learn to survive her husband's machinations and desires for her, while Garic must wait as a slave until the time comes to seek his freedom and find her again. But not all is as it seems as Attila the Hun's invasion of Gaul sweeps all before them.

With historical romances, the protagonists always seem either out of time, or the history seems wrong and I'm glad to say that neither of these things occur. Reading through this epic novel, it is good to see that some care and attention has been paid to the historical aspect of the novel and the care within which the story has been woven to make it part of the events that took place. That's not to say it is just a romance, as there are several interesting twists and turns that appear through the book to complicate the lives of those mentioned.

The characters are a little basic in nature and follow fairly easy themes, either being in love and bearing the pain that can come with it, or lustful and deceitful, uncaring of those around but always seeking to use others for their own profit or to sate their desire. Only a few of them escape with more subtle nuance and motives. However, they are written well and do come to life through the pages, described clearly and allowing to us to understand their heartache and desires.

The plot of the novel, while simple, is well cast against the events that overtake it and it was quite enjoyable to see how the other people in the story have their own lives and schemes entwining the main protagonists and the impacts they can have, both small and large. And while, the events could also overshadow the story, an oncoming Barbarian horde invading the Empire, it keeps its place front and centre as the repercussions of their love affect the thoughts of those around. What I can say is that after a slightly slow start and once the pace picks up, I kept turning the page to see what happens next.

If you are a fan of the genre, this is definitely one you should want to read. Don't be put off by the length of the story, there's a lot in it, but the scope and breadth of the story being told need it.

Rating: 4



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Third Party Reviews:


Historical Novel Society

"The story weaves, twists and turns at a tremendous pace, and the characters leap off the pages, which simply keep on turning."
(Rating: Recommended.)
Read Full Review by Historical Novel Society

Newspaper Review:

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Discussion

rz3300 (8 October 2016)
This sounds like a nice little historical story, and I must say that I probably do not get enough of those types of stories these days. It is just not something that you come across too often, so I am interested to see what this one is all about.

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