The Darkest Knight
In a time when men were warriors and women were chattel, it was a rare occurrence to find a woman with enough confidence and courage to journey miles over unfamiliar terrain to warn her king of impending attack. In The Darkest Knight the heroine is just such a woman. Unfortunately, she’s got a weak arm, a kidnaper on her trail, and is hopelessly accident prone.
Lady Katherine Berkley has discovered a plot to destroy King Richard and sets out to warn him. She is kidnapped and imprisoned in a monastery. It is a punishment worse than death, for Katherine has a fear and hatred of monks that stems from her childhood.
She is rescued by Reynold Welles, a former warrior serving penance in the brotherhood. It is only fitting that he take the place of the brother he destroyed, but he cannot stand by and allow a lady to suffer. He helps the prisoner escape and insists upon accompanying her even though he does not know her name. He keeps his identity a secret as well despite his growing feelings for her. It isn’t until Katherine and Reynold reach the castle of Lord Bolton, Katherine’s fiance, that they discover each other’s identity and just how wrong and hopeless their love is.
The Darkest Knight is a decent debut, and features sympathetic characters. The plot is fairly predictable, but the author deserves credit for creating a villain who wasn’t a stereotype – he was merely a man who believed he was acting for the better good.
The hero was particularly well done. Reynold was a tortured hero, filled with guilt and self-depreciation, but he didn’t come across as weak. Though his moment of “awakening” seemed to happen a bit too conveniently for my liking, I generally found him to be a realistic hero. Katherine was not quite as well conceived. She seemed to bounce back and forth between loving and hating Reynold a bit too often, and her sudden decision not to follow through with her mission seemed out of character. Also, her constant guilt for her “sins” became a bit tedious after awhile.
Enjoyable about both characters was their growing self-confidence as a result of helping each other. Ms. Callen has a refreshing knack for characterization but needs to work on her story-telling. I look forward to her next release to see if she moves closer to achieving her potential.