The Warrior

Kinley MacGregor
2007, Medieval Romance (1100s France and England)
Avon, $6.99, 352 pages, Amazon ASIN 0060796677
Part of a series

Grade: B
Sensuality: Hot

The Warrior is a solid and enjoyable Medieval Romance whose only real problem is a moderate case of sequel-itis.

Laird Lochlan MacAllister, steady, sober and reliable, receives word that his brother Kieran, who has long been thought dead, may be alive after all. As he travels to France on the trail of information as to Kieran's whereabouts, he comes across Catarina running from her kidnappers. Lochlan and Catarina are cousins through marriage, having met - and clashed - at the wedding of their relations. They heartily dislike each other, but even so, Lochlan is too responsible to ignore her plight.

Catarina is the illegitimate daughter of the king of France. She has been estranged from her father, but now he has found a use for her in a political marriage to a man she despises. Though she likes Lochlan little better, she knows she can at least trust him. They travel together, returning Catarina to her uncle who will hide her from her father, while seeking out those who may know where Kieran is along the way.

Lochlan and Catarina are almost complete opposites; Catarina is a free spirit, full of laughter and joie de vivre, while Lochlan is very self-contained and is about as buttoned-down as a Medieval knight can be. While each has a hard time understanding the other, they do find common ground in painful, abusive childhoods at the hands of their fathers, and a longing for love. MacGregor does a particularly good job of showing their gradual shift from antagonism to friendship to love. Their adventures along way are exciting and fun and, at times, moving. It's a very good road romance.

What didn't work so well for me were the many episodes of sequel-itis I encountered as I read. Now, I've read all the books in MacGregor's MacAllister and Brotherhood of the Sword series (and this book belongs to both), but it's been a couple of years since the last installment, and I had a hard time remembering who the heck all these former heroes were whenever one of them popped up. And they pop up with alarming frequency. Trying to jog my memory about their stories took me out of this story too often. I also thought the end a bit melodramatic, if very romantic.

But the vivid characters, the sweet and saucy relationship and the unusual French setting all worked and made The Warrior an above average Medieval romance - something that is all too rare these days.

-- Cheryl Sneed

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