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Spoil of War: An Arthurian Saga [Kindle Edition]

Phoenix Sullivan
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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The third in the Whispers from Mirrowen series: Will Phae reach the land beyond the grasp of the deadly Plague or will the quest through the Scourgelands end in tragedy once again? Read about the author, Jeff Wheeler

Book Description

SPOIL OF WAR is a fascinating account of early Britain, a gripping tale of lust, love and the horrors of ancient warfare. Beautifully written, filled with myriad period details and compelling characters, it takes you deep into the heart of a brutal era -- and into the nature of feminine honor, feminine courage. I was enthralled. – JENNIFER BLAKE, NY Times Bestselling Author

Elsbeth of Olmsbury desires nothing beyond helping her father run his dukedom – until the duke’s forces are overwhelmed, his castle torched and Elsbeth seized for the invading king’s personal spoil. Expecting the same abuse as the other surviving women of her house, Elsbeth instead finds the king, Leodegrance, treating her with a civility that belies his flagrant desire for her. A desire that will have her his consort in Cameliard once he can convince her rank and duty alone forced his hand against her father.

But Elsbeth is not so easily won. There is the matter of Leodegrance gifting his steward with an unwilling young handmaid from Elsbeth’s household. Of his marriage of convenience to his Byzantine queen. And of his plans to subjugate more of Britain’s citadels and unite the wild isle under Roman rule.

If Elsbeth can’t find her tangled way to forgiveness with the king – or escape the dark designs and perverse desires of Uther Pendragon, enemy to them both – then a legend of Camelot may never be conceived, never be born, and never change history forever ...

Please note: This novel takes place in a harsh era when spoils were often treated as commodities. While the violence toward women and children is period-appropriate and for mature adults only, it is never gratuitous. The story focuses on adaptation, survival and, ultimately, love in the Dark Ages before Arthur was made king.

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

SPOIL OF WAR is best described as women's historical fiction with romantic elements. It is a realistic look at what it was like to be chattel in a time of war and how precious love can be when hope is nearly lost.

If you prefer lighter historical fare with a more conventional romance, I urge you to browse the list of "Also Boughts" on this page instead. Otherwise, please read the sample to decide if the quality of the story and the writing meet your expectations, and if the heroine, Elsbeth, is someone you want to root for and would like to spend more time with.

About the Author

Phoenix Sullivan has 20+ years in the corporate world as a writer and editor. Reviewers have compared SPOIL OF WAR favorably to MISTS OF AVALON, authored by Marion Zimmer Bradley. A fun fact: Marion published several of Phoenix's short stories in anthologies sold worldwide and in the fantasy magazine she edited in the early 90s. She was Phoenix's first editor.

Product Details

  • File Size: 897 KB
  • Print Length: 315 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Steel Magnolia Press (March 27, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004UH7Z7U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,424 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
171 of 187 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh September 29, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
If this was an actual paperback, I would have hurled it across the room. Or maybe burnt it (as sacrilegious as I would have normally found such an act). It was not "woman's fiction", historical fiction, and most certainly NOT a romance novel. The story was unbelievably bad, with the heroine falling in love with the man who killed her father and enslaved her people. Not only that, but the so-called "hero" condoned such acts as one of his soldiers raping a dead woman. The hero also "gave" an 11-year-old girl to an old man, who raped her every night--and the heroine was turned on by this! There were other examples of rape in this book, and frankly, I did not bother to finish reading it. I have to say I'm disappointed, because the idea of an Arthurian "prequel" is intriguing.
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144 of 162 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please get your history RIGHT as well as your characters! September 6, 2011
By Kat
Format:Kindle Edition
I will just give a few of the "highlights":

As this refers to the pope Celestine, this would probably take place in the pre-500 AD timeframe.

1) Britons did not live in castles - they lived in longhouses, all one big room, with no separate rooms.
2) "Ryan" is a modern name, not even a Gallic form of "Rian."
3) Squash originated in the New World which would not be "discovered" by the Europeans for eons.
4) The Great Schism didn't happen for another 500 years at least.
5) Why are flint arrows being used when iron is present and so much more efficiently fashioned into arrow points?

and so forth and so forth.

I'm not even going to go into the issues of rape, constant underage rape, etc, etc. I got halfway through the book and couldn't finish it. If it's your thing, *shrugs*. Just not mine to read a poorly-written one.
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85 of 98 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Open A History Book Please "Phoenix"! August 19, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author of this book seriously needs to open a history book! "Prince Valiant" and "Le Morte De Arthur" have more accurate history than "Spoils of War: An Aurthurian Saga" and though Phoenix Sullivan is writing alternate history it's so clumsily done as to be downright silly and laughable. This would be forgiveable if the book was exciting and while the book started out farely well it quickly fell into meandering slowless with long diatribes of dialogue that sounded like grad students speaking rather than late Roman Empire or Dark Ages nobles. Historical romance and even Arthurian romance needs a certain feel and this one missed big time!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disgusting June 23, 2012
By annm.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I agree with some of the reviews and wish I had read them before purchasing this book. The rape scenes within the first 2 percent of the book was enough to make me stop reading, and I always finish a book-ALWAYS. The rape and mutilation of an old woman's dead body is appalling and sick. Then you have the rape and "gifting" of a child for sexual use. Then the main character, Elsbeth is raped by a drunken soldier and the king is livid as she is his "spoil". I am appalled that at any point in this novel Elsbeth is supposed to fall in love with the king responsible for this travesty. I don't think so. This book makes me want to wash my mind out with soap. This is not entertainment, it's a continuing story of assault. Why would any woman want to read this? I am all for really steamy sex scenes but that is not what rape is. Sick!!!
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed November 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
in brief, this is a bad romance. the longer form of the review is that I could not make it past 25% on my kindle. actually stopped reading at 20% but paged ahead a bit and it was the same. he is trying to get her to go to bed with him and she is saying no. just different places. all very boring really. and the fact that she witnessed the deaths of her father, and basically everyone in her home, and she "just puts it behind her". as well as the rape, which makes her desire sex. hmmm. what youth wrote this? I have talked with many who have been raped and that is not the reaction they tell me, in fact they fail to find sex fulfilling even with someone they love. and trauma--witnessing murder--that results in post traumatic stress disorder, a mental disorder. so along with the posts that complain about the lack of detail to the era. I find the lack of reality regarding human nature, very upsetting. the book , charaters could have been handled differently, which is what I was hoping for, but I can no long continue reading this book. my advice, don't even start it.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brutal, gritty, not a typical 'romance'. November 12, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Going by the reviews up to date, opinions on this book differ widely.

It seems that most of the people who gave this book one star were bothered mainly by the rape scenes, particularly those involving 'Ruth', an 11/12 year old girl (but others too).

My family is German and my grandmother was a young woman at the end of the war. She saw many horrible things. No need to go into details but, suffice to say, she saw things that make what happened in this book look like a walk in the park.

Those reviewers that feel that child rape, rape of dead bodies, etc. are disgusting and should not have been part of this book are partially right. Yes, it is disgusting but - guess what? - it happens. It's happening right now in different parts of the world.

Don't read this book if you're looking for a typical romance - this is not it. And the author warns you of that up front.

The reason I give this book three stars is not because of the rapes but because the heroine simply didn't ring true to me.

In the beginning of the book, the heroine's father is killed (by a sword in the face - ugh), her home overrun, everyone she knows either killed or captured. That night she is raped (not by the 'hero'). Yet by the next morning, she is getting sexually excited by the motion of the horse she's riding and the arm of the 'hero' around her body.

Sorry, Yes, I understand this is set in distant history and 'modern sensibilities' should not apply but the sheer quickness of her physical longing for the hero seems false, especially since her one and only experience of sex is the rape the night before.

Before I say anything more, I should mention that I've read only about a third of the book so far. But I doubt I'll continue.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh!

Would it be too harsh if I called this book porn for pedophiles and rapists? Probably not. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, it's not for me.
My first book of P. Sullivan. For some reason, I just could not get into it. It is too long and wordy, I skipped pages and pages (which I try not to do in any book I'm reading). Read more
Published 12 days ago by trulymisguided
3.0 out of 5 stars On the fence

Elsbeth, daughter of a lord, finds herself in the middle of a war as her home falls under attack. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kat
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Good Read
Published 3 months ago by Rachel Woodmansey
4.0 out of 5 stars True to Time Period
Elsbeth loses everything she has ever held dear when her home falls to the enemy in a war. She finds herself at the mercy of men she despises. Her freedom is lost. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Bec
1.0 out of 5 stars I've never given a bad review on a book until now.
Unless you are into necrophilia, pedophilia and rape... This book really sucks.
Published 9 months ago by ShelbyD
1.0 out of 5 stars Really poor story line unless you're into abusive men
I got this book as part of boxed set--Hearts of Valor. It didn't belong with the other 3 stories. There is no heart and no valor! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Pedophilia and Rape
Yep, that's right. The heroine gets all hot and bothered by listening to an 11 year old being raped. Read more
Published 12 months ago by J. Motz
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
I almost didn't read this book based in the other reviews. Some were pretty harsh. Okay there were historical errors but guess what - this is historical fiction. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Pamela
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story, but lacked passion for me
I would have really rated this at 3.5 stars if given the choice, so I went with 4, due to the fact that the story was really very strong and gripping, and from what I know of this... Read more
Published 13 months ago by J. Liesen
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More About the Author

In the corporate world, Phoenix was a professional writer and editor for 23 years. Before that, she was a registered veterinary technician, working with small animal clinics and wildlife rehab centers. Today she lives on a 27-acre farm with a handful of ponies, dogs, cats, chickens, guineas and goats. Mostly, she gets to write the books nearest to her heart, whether they be sexy paranormals set in Arthurian times or near-future medical thrillers. She has a secret soft spot for slash and angst. Then again, that's probably not so much a secret after all...

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