Lynne Sears Williams’ beautifully told historical romance “The Comrades,” carries readers back into Medieval Wales when the post-Roman Kingdoms of Powys and Gwynedd were at odds with each other while contending with ongoing threats from the English and the Norse.
In Williams’ 9th century tale, Evan, King of Powys, responds to a nasty cross-border raid from Gwynedd by ordering his commanders to kidnap Gwynedd’s princess Morleyna to use as leverage in negotiations with the neighboring kingdom. Carefully planned and boldly implemented, the successful abduction brings consequences the king and his warbrothers aren’t prepared for: a shrewd, highly intelligent “guest” at the castle who is also blessed with The Sight.
“The Comrades” is a stirring romance, graced with memorable characters, historically accurate place settings and customs, a first-rate writing style, and a rousing good plot. The interplay between Evan and his men, his aunt, his concubine and the princess is believable and flows easily between humor, statecraft and crisis. The story unfolds as the kingdom waits for a response from Morleyna’s brothers. Will they bring an army, a ransom or both?
Williams’ decision to tell the story from multiple points of view was a wise one. Readers see castle life and the world of Powys from the from the perspectives of Evan, Morlenya and other principal characters. While that world is long ago and far away, it shines clearly and brightly in “The Comrades.”
The story is supported by a helpful map and glossary.
I’ve got my work cut out for me with Philip Lee Williams’ huge new novel The Divine Comics: A Vaudeville Show in Three Acts. It’s a 1,000+ page, two-inch thick novel from an award-winning Georgia author. However, I’m really looking forward to this one. I’ve previously enjoyed his poetry in Elegies for the Water, his natural history about the ridge he calls home in In the Morning, and his civil war novel A Distant Flame. Williams, who is also a composer of classical music, recently retired from the University of Georgia.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Williams several times at our local library when he was on tour.
I’m also looking forward to Rhett DeVane’s new novel Cathead Crazy. She wrote a guest post about the novel’s background here on March 12. I’ve started reading the book—it’s great. I’m not surprised. I liked Rhett’s Evenings on Dark Island, co-written with Larry Rock. What a great vampire spoof that was. While Rhett lives in Tallahassee, Florida, the town where I grew up, I’ve never met her. She needs to do a book tour into the Northeast Georgia region where we also happen to like large biscuits.
Meanwhile, I’ve been reading and enjoying Lynne Sears Williams wonderful novel about the long-ago days in the country now known as Wales. I’ll be talking more about The Comrades on this blog very soon.
Meanwhile, I’m busy keeping up with my Book Bits blog (writer’s links) while working on short stories. (I’m not yet ready to tackle another book-length story.) And then, too, the website has undergone a major overhaul lately. That can happen when you switch the domain from one ISP to another.
The weather’s heating up in northeast Georgia, the grass is growing faster than I like, pollen is covering the cars, the cats are constantly miaowing about something, and I’m starting to think I’m ready for a vacation.