I am a lover of the story that takes hold of the mind, pushes its way into the heart, and forces the fingers to turn the pages. Morning’s Journey
is part of one such story. Book two in The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, Morning’s Journey
picks up where Dawnflight
left us, just before the official Christian marriage ceremony of Gyan and Arthur takes place. I rarely read sequels, especially those in a series dealing with a subject I am familiar with, as they tend to bore me with the same exact story as the prequels and the originals. This, you will find, is not the case with Kim Headlee and her version of the tale of King Arthur.
Let me entice your reader’s mind with an excerpt from the first pages
of Morning’s Journey
: The clash of arms resounds in the torchlit corridor. Blood oozes where leather has yielded to the bite of steel, yet both sweating, panting warriors refuse to relent.
Her heart thundering, Gyan grips her sword’s hilt, desperate to help the man she loves. Caledonach law forbids it.
Urien makes a low lunge. As Arthur tries to whirl clear, the blade tears a gash in his shield-side thigh. The injured leg collapses, and Arthur drops to one knee.
Crowing triumphantly, Urien raises his sword for the deathblow.Morning’s Journey
is filled with scenes like this, where the reader’s heart quickens as it tries to determine the outcome. It is also filled with grief stricken scenes like this one: At last, Angusel’s fingers found the smooth, cool surface of his blade. Fumbling to sheathe it, he breathed a prayer of thanks. The stream’s whisper seduced his thirst, and he half slid, half stumbled down the bank. He eased onto his stomach and plunged his hands into one of the burn’s deep pools. As he greedily sucked water from his cupped palms, he felt the brush of fabric against his leg. He sat up and pulled the cloth from the bush.
His heart lurched.
He fingered a small, soft blanket, slashed and crusted with blood. Moonlight glinted off its silver threads. Though shadows hid the pattern, he knew which clan had created the fabric.
I have said it before, and I will say it again, Headlee’s writings
about King Arthur should be required reading for high school and college
students. Her writing style is, in itself, magnificent. As we discovered in Dawnflight
, Headlee is well researched and educated on both the Pictish and
Roman cultures as they merged and became the dark ages version of the British.
In Morning’s Journey
, we dig deeper into the story of young Angusel, who had
pledged his loyalty to Gyan's clan. We will also dig deeper into the personal
relationship between Gyan and Arthur, where Headlee addresses a few issues that even married adults struggle with even in modern times: the absence of a spouse due to work and the adjustment of a huge life change. Additionally, we will see more of Morghe, and her murderous hatred for anyone who might bring Gyan joy.
Tragically, Morning’s Journey
does not end on the same positive note as Dawnflight
. Though the love story survives, one single relationship suffers an
unfair punishment and a devastating blow is dealt to the main characters that
will forever taint any story from now on. It will be impossible to ignore the
shattering of lives that happens in Morning’s Journey
in future works of
Headlee’s, and it left me feeling ill. This was, of course, by design.
The only thing I would have changed about Morning's Journey
(and for that matter, Dawnflight
, as well) are the covers. The covers of each are well done, I will admit, but Headlee's first two books in The Dragon's Dove Chronicles deserve art that reflects the masterpieces they are.
I still hold to that The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles is finding a fantastic spot among my collection of favorites. Kim Headlee is a remarkable author.
Let me first begin by saying that I was slightly irritated with Steve
Wilson after I finished reading Red Sky at Morning
did not do anything wrong. On the contrary- his book was so well written that it immediately became clear to me that I was going to have to re-configure my entire rating system to account for how magnificently written this book was.
Let me then say, before I go any further into my review, that I may be
somewhat biased as this is exactly my favorite writing style, genre, subgenre…
everything about this book struck me as EXACTLY what I love about a book. Red Sky at Morning
was, without a doubt, nicely descriptive. It didn’t waste time describing things in a way that some books do, where they go on and on and on describing that one blade of grass that grows next to that peach tree with the caterpillar on the leaf near the top that holds no significant value in the storyline. Wilson spent the perfect amount of time describing just the right things to keep the reader imagining what was in front of him without boring him to death. This is one of those abilities that often remain under appreciated, and it is difficult to master. Some authors actually shy away from description for fear that they’ll go overboard and lose the reader, and some authors completely kill their own story by describing their hero’s blonde hair in twenty seven different ways. Wilson walks that fine line like a pro.
Let’s discuss the plot. I won’t give anything away, but I will say this: I am extremely jealous that I didn’t come up with the story line to Red Sky at Morning
. Wilson shows an above competent grasp of both politics and the inner workings of the military as he effortlessly winds his way through the story; the lack of complicated explanations makes the plot oh-so-believable and that much more attractive to a fan of this type of fiction.
The writing. Well- think Tom Clancy in the military/espionage/thrill category. Think John Grisham in the plotting/planning category. And then make their characters Christian. Not the flamboyant type where every other word out of their mouths is about their faith, but the real type. The kind of Christian that is a real life person, maybe the guy in line in front of you buying coffee or the guy across the lot pumping gas. His character, Michael, is a normal guy who has morals and a conscience and is also a Marine and fluent in another language and just happens to really kick arse. Like, blow up a dirty bomb with a missile kind of kick arse.
My personal take on both Red Sky at Morning
and on Steve Wilson as an author is that I need more. I’m like a junkie in the middle of the night looking for more, for one more hit. Seriously, I can’t wait to read the next book in The Michael Neill Adventures series: Tempest of Fire.
You can find more about Steve Wilson and read other reviews for his work HERE
, and HERE
(yes, I've been stalking all of these pages). When you finish reading this book, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!
We’ve all heard the story. It’s one we know, we love, and we love to see movies and books and references made about it. Everyone is quite fanatical about the story of King Arthur. Every angle the story could be told from, we’ve heard it. Every back story, every small detail, most of us believe we know more about King Arthur than we do our own state history. That is, until we pick up Dawnflight.
What I loved absolutely the most about Dawnflight was the fact that I didn’t even realize the story was about Arthur and Guinevere until half way through the book. There isn’t the overused, drilled in, obsessively constant “This is King Arthur’s story” anywhere in the book, unlike almost every story we will read or see about the subject. That in and of itself freed me up to enjoy the story as a piece of literature without the expectations I’ve come to have about an Arthur story. By the time I realized what I was really reading, I’d been sucked in to Team Gyan, ready to declare my loyalty to her and her clan.
My second most favorite part of Dawnflight was the intense research that must have gone in to the writing of it. It is obvious in Kim Headlee’s masterful use of language. It isn’t until the end, pouring over the glossary, that one realizes that a good portion of the words are completely made up by Headlee. For example, in the glossary is the term Cárnhuileanach. It is derived from Scottish Gaelic words, but the word itself is Headlee’s invention. As an author myself, I know the research that goes into novels that are based in our current time, and the research for period works is even greater. It is obvious, when one reads Dawnflight, that the author spent a great deal of time simply creating the culture surrounding her characters to reflect the actual cultures present in Arthur’s time, and it is impossible to distinguish between fact and fiction with the way Headlee writes.
I have read reviews of Dawnflight that have been less than flattering. I find them to be completely without merit and, most likely, written by individuals who have no idea how to appreciate well written fiction. The skeleton of the story was well designed, well planned and well executed. Adding to that the research, the creativity to make an entirely new version of a centuries old story, and the detailed descriptions that encourage the reader to see the characters in their mind, and I believe I am looking at a work of sheer brilliance. I would shelve Dawnflight between my prized copies of the Chronicles of Narnia and my ever growing collection of modern military literature. I believe Headlee is an author our children should be reading in their high school English classes as an expert on Arthurian Fiction, and she should be studied in college writing classes in regards to her ability to take an old, over told story, and revive it.
Dawnflightis actually the first in a series, and I am pleased to say that I will be reviewing the second book, Morning’s Journey, next month. I am also practically chomping at the bit waiting for the third book! I loved Dawnflight.
Cheryl's Song was OUTSTANDING! I thoroughly
enjoyed this book so much that I could not put it down. Honestly, I read right through dinner and was completely oblivious the entire afternoon and evening as I read. Mr. Bossard captured my interest with his talented ability to write from
the view point of a woman. Not many male authors are able to convincingly tell a story from the eyes of a woman, but Mr. Bossard did just that and more.
Taking us back to a time when the process of pledging fraternaties was dangerous, intense, and sacred, Cheryl's Song is a raw, sometimes emotional story of one woman's journey to God, love, and truth. There are difficult concepts addressed: sexuality, support in grief, and honesty. Few authors are able to address these issues and still maintain the thrill of a story and the integrity of faith, but this author has clearly been able to do all of the above.
I am interested to see where this story goes. I admit, I have a bit of a literary crush on Perry, and am excited to find out if he appears in the sequels and where his life goes. I am also eager to read more about Donna and how she addresses her "demons".
Phenominal job, Mr. Bossard! EIGHT Doves!