A powerful historical novel by the late Ariana Franklin and her daughter Samantha Norman, The Siege Winter is a tour de force mystery and murder, adventure and intrigue, a battle for a crown, told by two courageous young women whose fates are intertwined in twelfth century England’s devastating civil war.
1141. England is engulfed in war as King Stephen and his cousin, the Empress Matilda, vie for the crown. In this dangerous world, not even Emma, an eleven-year-old peasant, is safe. A depraved monk obsessed with redheads kidnaps the ginger-haired girl from her village and leaves her for dead. When an archer for hire named Gwyl finds her, she has no memory of her previous life. Unable to abandon her, Gwyl takes the girl with him, dressing her as a boy, giving her a new name—Penda—and teaching her to use a bow. But Gwyn knows that the man who hurt Penda roams free, and that a scrap of evidence she possesses could be very valuable.
Gwyl and Penda make their way to Kenilworth, a small but strategically important fortress that belongs to fifteen-year-old Maud. Newly wedded to a boorish and much older husband after her father’s death, the fierce and determined young chatelaine tempts fate and Stephen’s murderous wrath when she gives shelter to the empress.
Aided by a garrison of mercenaries, including Gwyl and his odd red-headed apprentice, Maud will stave off Stephen’s siege for a long, brutal winter that will bring a host of visitors to Kenilworth—kings, soldiers . . . and a sinister monk with deadly business to finish.
My Rating: 5 stars
The Siege Winter is outstanding. The first page sends you full blown into an intricate plot with history, adventure, and suspense. Readers will enjoy reading this well-written plot as it unfolds before them. War, upheaval, and danger lurk everywhere. Ariana Franklin’s talent is one to behold. She will leave her readers in awe.
The Siege Winter by Ariana Franklin is a novel that is worthy for all. Inside this brilliant re-telling story, two family members go heead-to-head in war over secruing a crown. One has taken the crown for the moment, and the other is now battling for her right to have it back. Who will win is the intriguing part. Then there’s the falling out of the people with the current ruler in England. Many will fall back and help the other side. But still a battle remains. Mercenaries come, and a father is warned that one of them has a thing for little redheads…he holds his daughter close in fear. A man warns him to keep his daughter safetly away. Soon winter comes and the man’s little redhead daughter will play another role in this historical read. I loved how Ariana Franklin has started out with a dying monk telling his story before the last leaf falls. There’s a bit of humor and an evil man who won’t quit until he gets the little redhead. Overall, I highly recommend this medieval thriller to readers world wide.