Title: Rise of the Defender de Lohr Dynasty
Author: Kathryn Le Veque
Genre: Historical Romance, Medieval
Published by: Dragonblade Publishing, Inc.
Published Date: January 26, 2014
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Narrated by: Brian J. Gill
Length: 32 hours, 3 minutes
Release Date: March 9, 2015
The de Lohr Dynasty can all be read as stand-alones, but the chronological order is:
While Angels Slept
Rise of the Defender
Spectre of the Sword
Read the great Medieval Romance saga that spawned a series. Lose yourself in an enormous epic!
1192 A.D. – Sir Christopher de Lohr is Richard the Lion Heart’s champion, a man who the Muslims nicknamed “The Lion’s Claw”. Blond, battle-scarred and powerful, he is what all men fear. After the fall of Acre, Christopher makes a promise at the deathbed of a dying comrade to marry the man’s incorrigible but wealthy daughter. Christopher returns home to marry the woman, but the only thing is interested in is her substantial dowry. He has no use for a wife and resents being forced into the marriage.
The Lady Dustin Barrington doesn’t want a husband. Petite and beautiful, she is a goddess with the heart of a tomboy. When the enormous, seasoned warrior comes to Lioncross Abbey Castle to marry her, she savagely resists him. More than ever, Christopher regrets agreeing to marry the woman but as they are forced together in a contract marriage, something strange happens… somehow, someway, the animosity subsides and a gentle warmth takes its place. More and more, they come to care for one another but neither of them will admit it.
As the voyage of discovery begins, Christopher is distracted by a very important task entrusted to him by Richard. He has been sent back to England ahead of King Richard to assess the climate of the country and also to assess the activities of Richard’s brother, Prince John. He leaves for London to put himself in the heart of the turmoil that is going on between Richard and John, and brings Dustin with him. The moment they arrive in London, an entirely new and dangerous world opens up to them.
Join Dustin and Christopher as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Evil princes, tournaments, politics, wars, and a threat to their relationship from deep inside Christopher’s inner circle invade their loving and passionate world. When Christopher is reportedly killed in battle, Dustin must pick up the pieces of her shattered life and attempt to carry on. But don’t count the Defender out just yet… can he make it to Dustin in time to prevent catastrophe?
My Review: Four warrior knights back from the Crusades, loyal to Richard the LionHeart, are instructed to return to England—Sir Christopher and Sir David De Lohr, Sir Marcus Burton, and Sir Edward De Wolf.
King Richard bestowed on Christopher an honor which makes him the right-hand of King Richard in England. He is the Defender of the Realm, gaining total control of Richard’s army left in England. Chris’s task is to make sure Prince John does not take over the realm while King Richard is still abroad. Prince John is not easy to deal with, nor his slimy advisor, Sir Ralph.
On Sir Author Barringdon deathbed he requested Christopher to marry his daughter. Lioncross Abbey would also be his. All his knights and fighting men were also bestowed upon him. Sir Christopher reluctantly agreed, only because the offer came with marriage to Baron Barringdon’s daughter. Chris does not want to marry. He wants to champion the king and none other. Sound easy enough? Never, as you will soon find out.
The friendship between these four knights returning to England makes them a special fighting team. They were always in sync, the other anticipating the moves of the battle. They watched each other’s backs for three long years in the Holy Land.
Dustin, Sir Author’s daughter is 19, ‘willful’ and difficult to handle, nor does she want to marry. Willful is not the only word for Dustin. Her beauty, intelligence, and innocence somehow excuse her willfulness. Chris, who never wanted to marry, thinks it may not be too bad after all.
How can this knightly friendship dissolve once on English soil? Simply by the love of one small slip of a woman who isn’t even aware how she affects men. Up to her 19th birthday, any advances by men, she easily thwarted with a swift punch in the nose. She knows what these men want– not her but her large dowry and the ultimate inheritance of her father’s wealth.
All would have been fine. As in most marriages, husband and wife find an equilibrium and manage a marriage, even if just to sire children. However, Marcus Burton was attracted to Dustin, with circumstances propelling them into more than just attraction.
As Chris finds Dustin is more than a beauty, he falls passionately in love with her. With that love, which he won’t admit to himself, he becomes protective and jealous of anyone who shows his appreciation to Dustin. Beware Marcus and David!
This tale, all 892 pages, not only has deep conflict between characters, but they have internal conflict within themselves. What is more important? Friendship where one’s life has been saved many times, honor, or love of a woman?
A note about the narrator: Brian J. Gill mightily adds to the emotion of the scenes with his pacing, tone, character voice, and display of various emotions which befall the characters. Jeffrey, a secondary character, has a German accent. We initially hear from him when Chris shows us he is becoming jealous; Marcus Burton has a brogue, and of course, the others sound English.
The story is magical. Don’t let the length of the story deter you from reading or listening. As a reader, I was entrenched, experiencing all that transpires. Each character has his/her own path of discovery about themselves and how they intend to remedy the situation they find themselves in. Some of them have more trouble than others to move beyond the lie they accept as true. Le Veque writes deeply emotional scenes of terror, hatred, guilt, sadness, and valor, giving much to ponder for the reader.