In writing this review for Anna Belfrage’s Days of Sun and Glory (the second book in her new The King’s Greatest Enemy medieval history series), I am tasked with deciding how much more can I really say about Anna’s writing since I’ve reviewed her gaining on 10 times now. Her writing is always fast-paced enough to keep a reader turning the page, her pacing and plot(s) flawless, her dialogue authentic and witty, her characters fully dimensional and her research dynamic. It’s still the case in Days of Sun Glory, with the characters who carried over from In the Shadow of the Storm growing in depth and connectivity with me as a reader.
As I longed to read more of Alex and Matthew Graham in The Graham Saga each time a new book arrived, her first historical time travel series, I also was happy to meet again Kit and Adam in The King’s Greatest Enemy series, which is not time travel related but takes us back to medieval times during the reign of Edward II.
There is a lot in common in the relationship between Kit and Adam as in the relationship between the main protagonists in her first series. They are both stubborn, bicker and love both with abandon, and are determined and kind people. However, they are forging their own way now with their supporting cast of characters. Many authors have a difficult time with fully creating supporting characters, but Anna does not. She always seems to produce just the right amount who are all crucial for varying reasons and we get to know and love them just the same. We see Kit and Adam now as survivors at the hands of the “villain” of the book, Hugh Dispenser, who is a favorite of Edward II.We see how they have grown from this and how they gather those around them and continue with their life during this tumultuous time.
I am not one to give too much plot away in reviews, but I will say that while the first book set up a lot of background knowledge for us in regards to characters and the situations of the times, as well as locale, and introduced us to the personalities of main players, this second book is able to take off into a more moving story. Though you can read them stand alone, I think with these you’ll want to start with book one for a full immersive read. If you really want to start with book two you can, but you won’t have the depth of the characters or what they’ve been through. They fight against the odds of this frantic time in history, but yet we also see much of their own romance unfold.
Beyond Kit and Adam and their supporting cast, Anna also does a good job on presenting Edward II, Isabella, and Hugh Despenser as well. Such a triangle those three present! She brings history to life with her research and with her deductions of characters and actions that she then applies to the page. She knows a great deal about the 14th century and rebellion. With this foundation, she inserts her fictional characters of Adam and Kit and weaves them seamlessly into the landscape of turmoil.
This is quick read, as in it keeps making your turn the pages, but it is about 500 pages in actual length. It seems daunting to start, but in reality you’ll be lost in it and not think about it. She propels you through the pages.
Overall, I think Days of Sun and Glory as a second book offer great growth to the series as we learn with characters and, also, due to its immersion into historical detail and action. The intrigue and internal and external struggles will make you not able to sleep a wink because you won’t put the book down.
Days of Sun and Glory (The King’s Greatest Enemy #2)
by Anna Belfrage
Publication Date: July 4, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 418 Pages
Series: The King’s Greatest Enemy
Genre: Historical Fiction
Adam de Guirande has barely survived the aftermath of Roger Mortimer’s rebellion in 1321. When Mortimer manages to escape the Tower and flee to France, anyone who has ever served Mortimer becomes a potential traitor – at least in the eyes of King Edward II and his royal chancellor, Hugh Despenser. Adam must conduct a careful balancing act to keep himself and his family alive. Fortunately, he has two formidable allies: Queen Isabella and his wife, Kit. England late in 1323 is a place afflicted by fear. Now that the king’s greatest traitor, Roger Mortimer, has managed to evade royal justice, the king and his beloved Despenser see dissidents and rebels everywhere – among Mortimer’s former men, but also in the queen, Isabella of France.
Their suspicions are not unfounded. Tired of being relegated to the background by the king’s grasping favourite, Isabella has decided it is time to act – to safeguard her own position, but also that of her son, Edward of Windsor. As Adam de Guirande has pledged himself to Prince Edward he is automatically drawn into the queen’s plans – whether he likes it or not.
Yet again, Kit and Adam are forced to take part in a complicated game of intrigue and politics. Yet again, they risk their lives – and that of those they hold dear – as the king and Mortimer face off. Once again, England is plunged into war – and this time it will not end until either Despenser or Mortimer is dead.
Days of Sun and Glory is the second in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.
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Anna Belfrage, Biography
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours.
When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape.
Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters.
Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.
The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, was published in 2015. The second book, Days of Sun and Glory, published in July 2016.
Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
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