cover image Come the Morning

Come the Morning

Shannon Drake / Author, Drake / Author Kensington Publishing

Prolific historical romance author Drake's (The King's Pleasure) hardcover debut is a swashbuckling tale of warring factions in 12th-century Scotland. It chronicles the coming-of-age of a young nobleman whose feats of bravery earn him a royal but troublesome marriage. During a borderland battle, 13-year-old Waryk de Graham uses his father's sword to impale the last standing enemy, a Norman lord, as his father and uncle lie dead. Scottish King David has seen the act, and assumes guardianship of the robust boy. Ten years later it is 1137 A.D., the English monarchy is in chaos and Scotland is wary of attack from the Vikings and Normans. The king summons Lady Mellyora MacAdin of Blue Isle, whose father has recently died, to the Scottish royal seat of Stirling. In a strategic move to keep the Viking island secure for his kingdom, he has arranged for Mellyora to marry Sir Waryk , now his most respected warrior knight. She defiantly objects to the marriage, since she is already in love; while Waryk is equally dismayed, having been poised to wed his beautiful mistress. The narrative follows the war of wills between calmly intelligent, war-scarred Waryk, who accepts the king's command, and wily, irate Mellyora, who is trained in swordsmanship and repeatedly tries to escape to her utopian Blue Isle. Waryk is faster, but his expertise in outwitting the enemy is tested by this Viking sprite. Drake's characters are richly detailed; their romantic interplay is set among the vividly rendered skirmishes and treachery of medieval Scotland. (Feb.)