Highland Ruse: Mercenary Maidens, Book 2

Madeline Martin. Diversion, $14.99 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-63576-157-3
The second Mercenary Maidens adventure (after Highland Spy) falls short of its predecessor’s success. Delilah Canterbury is on her first solo spy mission for King James in 17th-century Scotland, aiming to capture Kaid MacLeod by posing as an Englishwoman who’s traveling to marry MacLeod’s enemy, Laird MacKenzie. Kaid despises the MacKenzies for their recent massacre of his clan and thinks Laird MacKenzie’s innocent bride would be a perfect accomplice in vengeance. As Delilah learns more about Kaid’s motivations and meets the surviving members of his clan, she must decide whether to complete her mission or help him with his revenge. Martin keeps Kaid’s ultimate intentions secret, resulting in late, unforeshadowed revelations that prevent full explorations of Delilah and Kaid’s missions. The characters also lack the depth found in Martin’s previous book: attention is given to Kaid as a new protagonist, but characterizations of Delilah and the other Mercenary Maidens rely on previously established details. The villains, especially the abusive Laird MacKenzie, are lightly drawn almost to the point of caricature. Readers will hope for better from future installments. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
Release date: 11/01/2017
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