Isabel Cooper returns to the blog today with the second in her Dawn of the Highland Dragon historic romance series. Please read on for my review and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win one of three print copies of Highland Dragon Warrior, book one in the series.
Highland Dragon Rebel
Different in pacing than the first in the series, this is Moiread’s story – a dragon shifter with some 300 years behind her, she’s a member of the MacAlasdair clan, although they are often off on their own adventures, and rarely together. In the 14th century, Scotland and Wales are under near-constant siege from the English, but a small break in hostilities between the Scots and the English has just started with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton after the end of the first war for Scotland’s independence. No one expects the peace to last, and to that end a Welshman, Madoc of Avandos has come to the MacAlasdair’s to gain their assistance in his quest to visit sites of power and use his skills as a sorcerer to keep the hands of the English from falling too harshly on his people. An alliance of long-standing between the families, and while Madoc believes that his beloved Wales will never be out from under English subjugation, his quest is to do what he can, using all means possible, to mitigate the impact. He requires a bodyguard, and Moiread, being both fierce and at loose ends takes the challenge.
Moiread is wonderful here: their story takes place almost entirely on the road as she is supporting, protecting and enjoying her time with Madoc. He’s not overtly rebellious, and doesn’t have any true date by which his quest must end, but haste in all things – and the two are moving quickly throughout Scotland, Wales and even England as he seeks out sites of power, obtains assent and assistance from various families of power, avoids assassins and slowly comes to find Moiread as wonderful and capable, not to mention intriguing, as he had first thought. For her part, she realizes that Madoc is and must focus on his quest, and everything that she wants from a man – including a lifetime together, has to be put aside until his purpose is fulfilled. He’s long lived as a sorcerer, but she also knows that she could outlive him by centuries, and we are always wondering if either of those two facts play on her mind even as they find themselves drawn closer together. When you add in their attraction, the fear of assassins, the fact that the MacAlasdair’s are not the only, nor the most powerful dragon clan out there and there are powers that even rival Madoc’s own, there are more than a few moments where it looks as if they have no chance to succeed.
Cooper brings the places and tension to the fore in this one, with the romance being secondary for may good and valid reasons, even as their connection and interactions show just how well suited they are. While we don’t really have moments of settled down roots, the pacing and the ‘road trip’ feel that the story brings just adds to the intrigue and engagement. With plenty of moments set with some actual historic events and in real places, the story has a sense of ‘possible’ even as it’s wholly fantastical. The fragile peace from the treaty wasn’t to last long, just a year, but this story stops before that, yet doesn’t miss on action, intrigue or emotion.
Title: Highland Dragon Rebel
Author: Isabel Cooper
Series: Dawn of the Highland Dragon #2
Also in this series: Highland Dragon Warrior
Genre: Historical Fiction / Fantasy Elements, Historical Romance
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published on: 7 November, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 10 Hours (est)
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Tantor Audio
Madoc of Avandos is on a journey to cement alliances. Targeted by an assassin, he needs a companion who can fight. When dragon shifter Moiread MacAlasdair returns from war, he knows she's the best woman for the job. Duty and political strength compel Moiread to agree, but when they cross into the otherworld and Madoc's life is threatened, Moiread jumps into protection mode-and will do whatever it takes to keep the man of her dreams alive.
Dawn of the Highland Dragon Series: Highland Dragon Warrior (Book 1)Highland Dragon Rebel (Book 2)Highland Dragon Unleashed (Book3)
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.