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The vengeance of a monk.
The love of a countess.
The secrets of a knight.
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Marcus Annan, a knight famed for his prowess in the deadly tourney competitions, thought he could keep the bloody secrets of his past buried forever. But when a mysterious crippled monk demands Annan help him wreak vengeance on a corrupt bishop, Annan is forced to leave the tourneys and join the Third Crusade in the Holy Land.
Wounded in battle and hunted on every side, he agrees to marry—in name only—the traumatized widow of an old friend, in order to protect her from the obsessive pursuit of a mutual enemy. Together, they escape an infidel prison camp and flee the Holy Land. But, try as he might, he cannot elude the past—or his growing feelings for the Lady Mairead. Amidst the pain and grief of a war he doesn’t even believe in, he is forced at last to face long-hidden secrets and sins and to bare his soul to the mercy of a God he thought he had abandoned years ago.
– Author’s Description
There aren’t a lot of books that can keep me up until 3 AM, staring bleary-eyed at the words, fighting against exhaustion to just go a few more sentences. “Behold the Dawn” is one of them. I received a free-copy from Story Cartel (https://storycartel.com), on the agreement that I would read it with 2 weeks, and “pay” the author with an honest, unbiased review of what I thought. At first, my thoughts were “I really want to read this, but how in the world can I finish it in 2 weeks?” you see, I’m a slow reader and unless something really interests me, reading a book can drag on and become the most menial, dull, boring task that I set myself to.
Behold the Dawn really interested me. Simply put, I finished it in about 9-10 hours (stretched out across 5 days) and for each of those five days, I didn’t actually turn off my tablet until around 2-3 AM. This is a must read that I would (and will) suggest and recommend to all my friends. The message contained within: that any can find grace at the foot of the cross, no matter how black their past is, is timeless. The Characters are well developed, the plot was well laid out, and there was enough mystery, mayhem and adventure to keep me (proverbial speaking) on the edge of my seat all throughout. The Final Revelation was unforeseen and caught me completely off guard (Which not many books can do) 5 Stars, and two Thumbs up to K. M. Weiland for her amazing, and epic tale.
If you are interested in reading this title, it can be found her on Amazon.
To learn more about the Author, and to explore additional titles, pleases visit:
www.kmweiland.com and www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com
~OzarkScyfyWriter (Caleb Galloway)
To find out more about this book, please see plot synopsis below:
*CONTAINS SPOILERS – PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK*
Imagine a past so haunting, a life so dark, so stripped of meaning, that the only thing to look forward to is for death to put an end to your wretchedness. For Marcus Annan, such a life is reality. Haunted by the events in his past, Annan turns to the bloody and perilous life of the medieval tournaments.
And he’s good at it.
For 16 years Annan throws himself into this dangerous new life, refusing to acknowledge the past, fully aware of his wretched existence and hoping that each match will hold his final breaths. Only those breaths never come. Annan quickly gains renown as a deadly and unbeatable foe, from tourney to tourney across Europe, his name becomes legend. And then, one fateful day at a tourney in Bari, Italy, 1192 AD, the past finally catches up with him.
A gnarled old monk, known simply as “The Baptist” hailed as a heretic and sought by the roman catholic church, confronts Annan and reveals himself to be non-other than Gethin, an old friend and mentor, long thought dead by Annon. Recalling the Past, and its dark deeds—including a rebellion that led to the destruction of St. Dunstan’s abbey, and the near death of it’s sinful Bishop, Roderic of Devonshire—Gethin demands Annon’s help, stating that he is the only one who can locate the rebellion’s instigator, Matthias of Claidmore, so that he can finished what he started sixteen years previously.
Manipulated by Gethin at every turn, Annan travels to the Holy Land amidst the 3rd Crusade, along with his squire Peregrine Marek. Wounded in a battle, Annan ends up in a hostile prison camp, amongst an old friend—William, Earl of Keaton—who’s dying from mortal injuries. Annan promises the Earl to look after his wife, Lady Mairead, and to wed her—in name alone—to keep her safe as he delivers her to St. Catherine’s, a distant convent in Orleans. But the journey to Orleans takes many unforeseen twists and turns, and enemies—both of Annan, and of Lady Mairead, begin to close in. Along the way, Annan begins to realize that he cares more for Lady Mairead than he is willing to admit. And it’s only after he nearly loses her that he realizes just how much.
In a roller-coaster of events, Lady Mairead is grievously wounded by an assassin’s blade. Annan pursues her attacker with a vengeance, while Marek takes Mairead to the Castle estate of Lord Stephen—another of Annan’s old friends. Annan kills the soldier responsible, and joins forces with Odo, a Templer Knight. That night, around a campfire, Annan finally puts the pieces together and realizes that Gethin is a master tactician, controlling both Annan and Bishop Rodric from behind the scenes—pushing them towards an inevitable encounter, the only thing that will sate Gethin’s blood-lust for vengeance.
Upon Annan’s return to Lord Stephen’s estate, he discovers that, under the order of Gethin the Baptist, Mairead’s chief foe—Lord Hugh de Guerrant, has made his move, kidnapping Mairead, sacking the Estate, killing Stephen, and leaving Marek and Stephan’s ailing wife for dead.
With no other course of action, Annan is forced to seek out the Baptist, and face his long-hidden past—or else lose Lady Mairead and any future they might have together. The Baptist and Annan come face to face for the last time in the city of Jaffa, held by a small army of Crusaders, in the midst of an Turkish attack.
There, the final revelation is made… Marcus Annan is Matthias of Claidmore. Almost surrendering to who he once was, almost killing Rodric where he stands, Annan—with Mairead’s help— sees the light and spares the bishop, proclaiming “Take your life as a gift, Father. May you make better use of it now than you did the last time.”
Enraged, Gethin kills Bishop Rodric and attempts to kill Annan as well. In a pitched battle, Annan defeats Gethin, and the vengeful monk topples from the walls of Jaffa, down into the pitched battle below. Reunited with Lady Mairead, and no longer afraid of his past, Annan surrenders himself to the grace and mercy of the cross, and stops running from God.
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