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Dark Winds Rising: A Novel (Queen Branwen) Hardcover – December 5, 2017
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"Dark Winds Rising is a strong follow-up to Between Two Fires. Mark Noce strikes just the right balance between history and imagination in this compelling story." ―Juliet Marillier, award-winning author of the Blackthorn & Grim series
Praise for Between Two Fires:
“A spirited ride through a turbulent slice of Welsh history!” ―Paula Brackston, New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter
“A fast-paced read that has a wonderfully visual style and some memorable characters. Mark Noce combines Welsh history with a touch of folkloric magic in this promising debut novel. Lady Branwen is a strong and engaging narrator and the turbulent setting of early medieval Wales makes a fine backdrop for an action-packed story.” – Juliet Marillier, Bestselling author of Daughter of the Forest and Wolfskin
“Between Two Fires is recommended for those who enjoy historical romance with an unusual backdrop, ancient Wales.” ―Historical Novel Society
“If you are in to medieval historical fiction with a splash of romance, then I would recommend you read Between Two Fires.” ―Escape Inside the Pages (blog)
“I'm seriously impressed by the research, detail and heart- pounding adventure Mark Noce has poured into Between Two Fires. Be prepared for the early medieval war romance of a lifetime.” ―Fresh Fiction (blog)
About the Author
MARK NOCE writes historical fiction with a passion, including the Queen Branwen series (Between Two Fires, Dark Winds Rising). Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he has been an avid traveler and backpacker. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. He also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he's probably listening to U2, sailing his dad's boat, or gardening with his family.
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Noce’s Dark Winds Rising is outstanding, a sequel to his amazing debut Between Two Fires and continues the story of Queen Branwen and King Artagan. It’s an unforgettable epic love story, a tale of wars and peace featuring the beautiful unblemished Wales landscape and the brutality of the time period. The combination of Christian and pagan practices, the characters reverence of the Arthurian legend plus the factual Welsh places and history mixed with the myths and fiction is unmatched and benefits both the entertainment and educational value of the read. But its definitely the I am Woman Hear Me Roar, courage and fortitude of this young yet wise beyond her twenty-one years, Queen Branwen that will steal reader’s hearts and make this bound for the keeper shelf. The novel is strong enough to stand on its own but should be read in order.
Queen Branwen of The Free Cantrefs is wise beyond her years, after all life in 6th century Wales is far from easy. Allies can turn to foes in the blink of an eye in any of the fiefdoms that dot the Wales countryside and treaties from marauding neighbors aren’t worth the parchment they’re written on. And just because she’s a queen doesn’t mean her personal life is a cake walk either, she’s been married twice, widowed once and survived childbirth plus she just found out she’s expecting again. She’s got the blood of the old tribes running rich in her veins and luckily a husband she loves dearly who values her council and welcomes his warrior queen to rule alongside and not behind him. But now a much greater threat is upon her, someone is trying to kill her small son and heir to the throne. And an adversary from the north has decided now is the perfect time to cross the border and attack her ally and the kingdom of her birth. She’s pulled in two directions and is determined to save Wales and her son. She’ll take all the help she can get whether divine or mortal because she will fight for what she believes in and possibly die trying.
Now Queen Branwen is married to her beloved husband Artigan and raising a young toddler son but danger threatens her yet again. Not only are the Picts invading and Queen Branwen must try to face the Pictish Queen who is trying to turn the Welsh against one another in a civil war but there also seems to be a mysterious assassin that is targeting Queen Branwen’s young son. During all of the conflict she also finds that she is again with child and worries that she may not survive the second birth.
In the first book of this series, Between Two Fires, I found that Mark Noce was definitely a great writer but I felt a bit slighted with the book being marketed as historical romance. There wasn’t much romance to be found in the story but the historical side seemed to be pretty solid so I decided to give the second book a try to see where the story would go after the end of the first.
Now in this second book I did feel that this one could be considered to be more than just a historical fiction tale as Queen Branwen is obviously in love with her husband so there were twinges of romance which to me was a needed improvement. There is also though plenty of action taking place in the story set in 597 A.D. in medieval Wales which seemed to be accurate to the times. In the end I definitely liked this one a bit more than book one and thought it to be a nice addition to the series.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
Another marvelous historical in Mark Noce's Queen Branwen series. It excited me to return to the dark age in Wales with my favorite characters like Branwen, Ahern, Artagan, and Olwen. The weight upon Branwen is doubled this time by her being a mother. She wants to protect her son and her unborn child, but she must stand for her kingdom as well. She struggles with being a queen and a mother when everyone believes she cannot be both. I was fascinated by the Picts and chilled by their primal ferocity. The Pict Queen and all her cleverness made for a foe like no other for Branwen.
I received a free advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Most recent customer reviews
I loved this sequel! Although there was less focus on the romantic aspects of her relationship with Artagan in this novel, I loved that we have a fully...Read more
I hadn't had the pleasure of reading Mark Noce's first installment, Between Two Fires.Read more