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In the golden time of Arthur and Guenevere, the Island of the West shone like an emerald in the sea - one of the last strongholds of Goddess worship and Mother right. Isolde is the only daughter and heiress of Ireland's great ruling queen, a lady as passionate in battle as she is in love. La Belle Isolde, like her mother, is famed for her beauty, but she is a healer instead of a warrior, "of all surgeons, the best among the isles." A natural peacemaker, Isolde is struggling to save Ireland from a war waged by her dangerously reckless mother. King Mark of Cornwall sends forth his own champion to do battle with the Irish - Sir Tristan of Lyonesse - a young, untested knight with a mysterious past. When he lies victorious but near death on the field of battle, Tristan knows that his only hope of survival lies to the West. His men smuggle him into the Queen's fort at Dubh Lein and beg the princess to save him.

Setting aside the fact that I generally dislike romances, and for some reason it took me a bit to figure out why I really didn't like this story I will do my best to offer a non-biased review.

The first good thing I will say about this book is that it is a fast read. The story takes up a whopping 340 pages which I've devoured in a week. Perhaps it's because it's half the size of the books I've read lately, but it just feels like I've slid right through the story.

The second good thing I can say about the book is that I've learnt that in the beginning of the age of chivalry when knights competed in tournaments, they were more like a free-for-all, with the winner being the one left standing. This is something new to me as all I've ever known of knights and tournaments was jousting and sword play. Sort of the stereotypical thing.

As far as historical accuracy, Miles seems to be in line with the general consensus of the story of the 'real' Tristan and Isolde, from what I have been able to gather.

The only thing that really bothered me was from an editor's point-of-view, Miles head-hops a lot. Too much of the multiple-points-of-view within the same scene.

Overall I'd give this 4 out of 5 stars, historical romance not withstanding.


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