The House of Pendragon: Book II, The Recruit
By Debra A. Kemp
Amber Quill Press 2007
Buy Link: http://amberquill.com/Recruit.html
Author website: http://www.myspace.com/debrakemp
After reading Debra A. Kemps’s first Pendragon book, (The Firebrand) I wanted to read the sequel right away. Unfortunately life got in the way and the book was put on hold for a few days. Once I had a whole day to indulge myself, I got comfortable on the sofa with my soft, comfy throw and a glass of iced tea. I began the first paragraph a little warily, wondering if I could possibly love this book as much as the first. I needn’t have worried, Ms. Kemp did not disappoint.
Freed from slavery and coming to Camelot, as King Arthur’s daughter, is quite an adjustment for Lin and her foster brother Dafydd. Released from the brutal uncertainties of his life as a slave, Dafydd settles in and happily begins training for his life long dream of being a bard. Lin’s adjustment is harder. Although Arthur is thrilled at his daughter’s return and offers love and warmth, Queen Gwenhwfar’s reception is cold and distant. What Lin desires most is her mother’s love and approval—the Queen only wants Lin to conform to the monotonous life of royalty and accept the duties of a princess, including an arranged marriage. With Prince Modred’s rape and abuse still fresh, the last thing Lin wants is a husband.
Hurt by her mother’s coldness and unable to accept the life Gwenhwfar plans for her, Lin’s headstrong rebelliousness resurfaces, bringing harsh punishment from the Queen. Deciding there’s no hope of reconciliation with her mother, Lin goes to Arthur and requests permission to train as a royal soldier. Having passed the initial test to be accepted as a trainee, Lin is warned she will be given no consideration for her rank or sex during training. Haunted by her past and meeting resistance at every turn, will Lin’s indelible, fighting spirit finally be tamed or will she become a princess worthy to be Arthur’s heir?
Being a modern woman, I love Lin’s stubborn resistance to a life planned by everyone but herself. In The Firebrand we meet and get to know Lin, as an orphaned slave with a death wish, and the heart warming love between her and her foster brother. In The House of Pendragon: Book II, The Recruit we see Lin grow, mature and come into her own. She learns when and where to fight her battles against cruelty and barbarism. But fight them she does, even against the father she’s come to love and respect. I was impressed with Ms. Kemp’s impeccable writing and gifted storytelling, as she seamlessly weaves this gripping tale from one book to the next. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that the author will honor us in the future with a new Pendragon book. I feel an intense attachment to these characters and would love to read more of their story.
If you haven’t read Pendragon: Book I, The Firebrand, I suggest you start with that one. My review of it is listed in categories in the sidebar under book reviews – historical.