cover image Unconquered


Hannah Howell. Zebra Books, $5.99 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-5417-7

A great story has a beginning, a middle and an end. This latest by the author of My Valiant Knight is all middle. On the eve of William's invasion of England, Eada of Pevensey is separated from her family and captured by Drogo de Toulon, handsome, wise, sensitive. At the same moment, she inherits the gift of seeing (or more often, hearing) the future. She knows Drogo is her destiny, so there's no conflict there. Instead, Howell has constructed an episodic plot in which Eada, after ""hearing"" the cries of her people, slips out of camp, meets up with one particularly nasty lordling and must be rescued by the ever-attentive Drogo. Aside from the plotting problems, Drogo is also just a bit too nice. His lines run to ""I was wondering what if anything, I should say, for I could not judge how you felt""--the kind of thing one might pay a 20th-century shrink for, but could hardly expect from an 11th-century Norman. (Oct.)