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Judith E French

REVIEW:  The Warrior by Judith E French

REVIEW: The Warrior by Judith E French

Dear Mrs. French,

084395395001mzzzzzzz.jpgThis is a series I’ve always meant to read but just never quite got around to. When I saw book three, “The Warrior” in the store, I decided to jump in and start there. The first thing I noticed is that it’s got an older style. Romance isn’t the main focus of story and it’s more historical fiction with romantic elements. The second thing is that from what I can tell by a cursery cruise through the internet, you’ve made this story up wholesale.

In ancient Times, tales were told of fierce warriors and the brave women who risked everything to love them. Alexander was one such man, and well he knew it. The only son of Alexander the Great, he had a destiny to fulfill. He intended to marry a princess and carry on his noble lineage. But in the heat of the Egyptian desert, a beautiful slave girl named Kiara called to his deepest desires. Her emerald green eyes beckoned him to put down his sword and open up his heart. And for once, Alexander wanted nothing more than to defy expectation and follow this willful beauty around the world.

But deception surrounded the lovers on all sides. From the great pyramids of Egypt to the misty hills of Ireland, history awaited the one man brave enough to seize it. And the one woman bold enough to claim…THE WARRIOR!

The book is very strong in historical feel and detail but not strong in historical accuracy. From all the readily available sources, it would seem that Roxana and her son died a mere decade after Alexander’s death and that there was no second romance nor other children for her. So while I enjoyed the story, kept wondering why you didn’t just make it a complete work of fiction and avoid using and changing historic figures. A friend of mine suggested that maybe you thought the story needed the larger-than-life character of Alexander the Great to make it believable but I still always get antsy when historical fact gets twisted too much to tell a story.

There are lots of plots. Lots and lots of plots. While it keeps things moving and interesting, it also doesn’t allow for in depth exploration of all these plots. Many times I felt moved from point A to point C with no mention of point B at all or at most a fleeting glimpse of it. But I admit it does save the book from the dreaded soggy middle syndrome.

I did enjoy the fact that Alexander has his moments of weakness and less than heroic actions (leaving Kiera in Rhodes after his promise to take her back to Ireland). The other subplots take away from this love story and I felt the “I love you” statements made at the end were forced and not that believable.

Ava is initially almost totally unbelievable. A seven year old, bursting in on her much older brother while he’s with two of his “playthings,” trailed by her pet leopard? Come on! She’s just a little too much as the little bloodthirsty Amazonette. Then she got much better after falling into the hands of their enemies. I could see her courage and bloodlines coming to her aid. But after being saved in the end, she’s ready to dash right into danger again when the Greeks attack and has to be hauled back by her mother. Did she learn nothing? Okay, she’s still young but…

And the attacks in the end weren’t too clear. I felt lost in this section and since it appears you’ve made it all up, I can’t even go to the internet to read a concise report on it. Also, why have the mini-romance for Shahi? It’s barely there, not expounded upon, cut off at the knees and totally unnecessary. And isn’t it too sweet that Kiera, Alexander and her nine Irish warriors arrive just in time to make it through the defense Kayan devises for the mountain empire. This section felt too rushed.

While I enjoyed the almost non-stop action of the book, I think I would have liked a little less going on and more time spent explaining fewer plot points. This is a fascinating time in history and one which I think deserves more emphasis placed on historical accuracy. I do plan on searching for the two previous books in the series that I already own and hope that I like them as much as I did this one. B-

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in mass market. No ebook format I can find.

Dear Author

REVIEW: Blood Ties (Tawes Island Book 2) by Judith E...

Dear Ms French,

Book CoverOnce again we’re back on the secluded Chesapeake island of Tawes where they have their own way of doing things. Island Justice, they call it. And once again the heroine is told from almost the beginning of the book that evil lurks on the island. Well, the locals sure aren’t kidding about that as similarly to the first book, the body count is high and the descriptions of them are gruesome.

People have lived on Tawes Island for centuries and few outsiders ever move there so it’s not surprising that most of the town are cousins, second cousins, kissing cousins or some variant. So when archaeologists Abbie Night Horse and her mother Karen Knight (I still never really got why the name difference) arrive to do a preliminary excavation of what could be an ancient Indian burial site, they don’t catch all the nuances of life there. I like how you show how the possible sale of some property to mainland developers was beginning to divide the people of the island. Some want change and the jobs that would come and some are ready to defend Tawes any way they can. From the start, we can see that lots of people have a stake in whether or not Abbie and Karen prove that the proposed development site holds the burial site and thus needs to be protected.

But the burial site dig isn’t the only thing that’s going on in Tawes as we start the book straight off the bat with a murder and for the next part, you bring in personable Police Chief Buck Davis, home town boy returning from a stint as a Delaware policeman. I guess after the murder spree of book one the Tawes people decided they might need some local law enforcement after all. I like Buck. He’s down home without the piece of straw between his teeth. He likes what he sees in Abbie and goes for it. She likes him too and I enjoyed their honest, open sexuality. Buck is good at his (real) job but I wish Abbie had just let him do it.

Both Abbie and Karen are competent at their jobs and insist on it from the amateur diggers at the site. So it was especially galling when Abbie spilled some information that Buck had told her in obvious confidence. And she knew what she was doing, how it pissed Buck off and didn’t care. Then she insists on butting into crime scenes, yeah okay even after all of Tawes had tramped through it but still…, and committing the cardinal sin of suspense heroines, putting herself into danger.

You don’t turn the large real estate corporation that wants a toe-in on the island into the usual Evil Big City Businessmen who will stop at nothing to pave paradise and put up a parking lot. In fact, they were rather considerate and stuck to the law. Which brings up another thing. Why does every land transference in Tawes get tied up for weeks as the local lawyer, Forest McCready, tries to sort it out? It doesn’t make me think much of his or his lawyer father or grandfather’s skills with a will. But then again, with the high yearly body count they have on Tawes, it doesn’t seem like too many people would want to move there anyway, beautiful view or no.

As for the killer, I remember precisely one clue early in the book that might have identified him while everything else came out after more victims were found. It was only then, right at the end of the book, that two other characters put it all together and spelled things out to each other to confirm it that I, as a reader, never remember hearing anywhere else. Of course, once those facts came out, there was no way the killer could have been anyone other than who he was. I would stop periodically and review the facts I knew, carefully read the killer’s point of view scenes and still would never have figured it out. Doesn’t this break some kind of mystery/suspense code? Shouldn’t the reader have at least a small chance of deducing the villain?

I’m not usually much for dragging characters from the previous book into the current one but you did this without taking away from the relationship of Buck and Abbie. Another review I read mentions that this book jumps straight into the complex social ties of Tawes and might leave a newbie stranded at low tide. You do explain a lot of who’s who on the island but as far as Bailey and Daniel are concerned, a new reader would have to jump into the deep end. One thing that tickled me is that these two aren’t all lovey-dovey though they are fertile. But wait, Bailey has a dog? Didn’t
you make her dog phobic in the first book? Or if not dog phobic than at least less than thrilled to be around them? It seemed to me that most of the other characters due stay true to the way they were in book one and that was a relief. But would the CIA really be all warm and cuddly the way Daniel describes them at book’s end? I have my doubts.

“Blood Ties” kept me reading. I thought the atmosphere was great. I did enjoy seeing lots of the same secondary characters again but the mystery resolution part didn’t work so well for me. Maybe an aficionado of the genre could have worked it out but this reader didn’t stand a chance. C+

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in mass market paperback.