This audiobook review comes with a warning label: If you’re a person who doesn’t like to smudge your mascara, dislike dark, edgy suspense, disapprove of the mayhem and wildness of the Medieval period in England, and hate crying buckets of tears chapter after chapter, I suggest you forego listening to this book.
Title: Lord of the Shadows, The De Lara Empire
Author: Kathryn Le Veque
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: 1215 A.D., England
Published By: Dragonblade Publishing
Published Date: June 10, 2014
Listening Length: 9 hours, 48 minutes
Narrator: Brad Wills
Publisher: Kathryn Le Veque Novels
Released Date: July 7, 2014
Synopsis: 1215 A.D.: The reign of King John means dark days for all of England. Not one man, woman or child lived without fear. Magnifying this fear is the man they call The Lord of the Shadows – a terrifying figure who sits at the right hand of the King, manipulating the royal moves like a puppet master. The Lord of the Shadows has been known to tear men apart with his bare hands and can, with a snap of his fingers, alter the future of anyone he chooses. The nobility is terrified of him, and for good reason. That is – the nobility that know of his existence.
Lady Sheridan St. James has been drawn into the political arena by her father – having no sons, he bequeaths his power and knowledge to his eldest daughter, a stunningly beautiful and bright creature. Upon his death, Sheridan finds herself at the head of the mighty House of St. James, a major leader in the rebellion against the crown. During her first visit to London she becomes acquainted with a massive knight who has, in kindness, saved her sister’s life. She has no idea Sir Sean de Lara is the man known as The Lord of the Shadows, but even when she is told of his horrible deeds she still cannot not believe it.
Sheridan and Sean draw close despite the influence of the horrendous affairs of state sweeping London. All she knows is that he is handsome and kind, and although Sean is well aware of the lady’s status, it makes no difference that she is, in perception, his enemy. To Sean, Sheridan is quickly becoming his reason for living – but out of necessity his responsibilities to the king become stronger than his love for Sheridan and he is forced to perform his duties or risk death to them both. Still, Sean swears to her that his days as the Shadow Lord are numbered even as rival factions cruelly separated them. It soon becomes a test of Sean and Sheridan’s love to find each other again in a world which is determined to keep them apart.
Review: This is the second book I’ve read by author Kathryn Le Veque and was excited to be able to listen to the narration, produced by Brad Wills. Both book and narration are over the top. Truly, over the top. Brad, with his spectacular voice, so aptly uses its wide range of voice texture to support this terrific tale. With his booming deep throttled voice, I see a man in full mail towering over me. I feel either very feminine, in need of protection, or a bug he could squash if he had a care to. Agh! Sir Sean de Lara is an unknown character. Is he protagonist or antagonist? Through the telling of the story, he shows his colors.
I totally, absolutely and incredibly love the way Brad Wills uses his voice. In this particular story, dialog includes long whispered conversations, which was just as emotive as his normal voiced dialog. Women’s dialog isn’t anything short of sounding feminine.
This tale had many characters and each I was easily recognized. The depiction of John, King of England had me reading some history about him. When a book of historical setting reaches out to you enough to want to separate fact from fiction, it most certainly has gone beyond the author’s intent, but I believe in a good way. The king was depicted as being rather spiteful and weak with a suspicious nature of all around him. The voice and emotional tone Brad Wills used was spot-on.
The story was all about intrigue and being caught up in the uprising against the king. Woven into its fabric was a poignant love affair between two virtual strangers who could not have walked away from each other even if they wanted to. Their love was a deep, fathomless ocean of tumultuous emotion where I, as listener, could not help but be sucked into the maelstrom. Hence, the bucket of tears, the searing heart, the hours of listening where I could not pull myself away.
This book captured and enthralled. A wonderful treat indeed–for those who dare the listen.
She has been featured in the NEW YORK TIMES and on USA TODAY’s HEA blog. “This author… genius…!” ~ Ind’Tale Magazine In October 2014, Kathryn was the 31st MOST READ author on Amazon.
She is extremely prolific with over 50 published novels and 37 #1 Hot New Releases in Medieval Historical Romance since May 2012. When new readers see how many novels she has published, the inevitable question is… “She writes so many novels! Are they any good?” The answer is… YES!!
Welcome to Medieval England – hard-core, battle-scarred, power-driven alpha knights of the highest Norman order and the women who love them. Like High Middle Ages action and romance? Welcome to the Le Veque Medieval Machine. Kathryn’s Medieval Historicals have been called ‘detailed’, ‘highly romantic’, and ‘character-rich’. She crafts great adventures of love, battles, passion, and romance in the High Middle Ages. More than that, she writes for both women AND men – an unusual crossover for a romance author – and Kathryn has many male readers who enjoy her stories because of the male perspective, the action, and the adventure.
See Kathryn’s fanpage on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kathrynlevequenovels?ref=hl Join her on Twitter @kathrynleveque Visit her website at http://www.kathrynleveque.com
About the Narrator: Brad Wills has been narrating audio books for a little over two years, specializing in the Historical Romance genre. His most frequent collaborators are Kathryn Le Veque, Suzan Tisdale, and Amy Jarecki.
Other titles he has narrated for Ms. Le Veque include THE WHITE LORD OF WELLENSBOURNE, GUARDIAN OF DARKNESS, NETHERWORLD and SERPENT.
In addition, upcoming projects include numerous titles from Ms. Le Veque’s 2015 lineup, a four-novel series for Ms. Jarecki, and FREDERICK’S QUEEN from Ms. Tisdale’s Clan Graham Series.
Before diving into the realm of audio book narration, Brad spent 20 years in New York as an actor/singer. His credits include the 20th Anniversary Broadway revival of ANNIE, touring with MAMMA MIA! and THE WIZARD OF OZ, and numerous regional productions. As a singer, Brad made appearances in several cabaret shows, and sang with the á capella jazz octet Pieces of 8, with whom he recorded the album FALLING TOGETHER. He was also featured on the Grammy-nominated (Best Opera Recording, 2004) studio recording of composer Edward Thomas’ operatic adaptation of DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS