A Dark Champion launches the eagerly awaited Brotherhood of the Sword series, sweeping readers into a rich and unforgettable world as a band of former Crusaders face enemies at home.

Stryder of Blackmoor lives by the sword and the credo that no woman shall own his heart—that is, until he encounters Lady Rowena. As the wealthiest heiress in England, Rowena is pursued by suitors when she simply wants to be a troubadour.

King Henry and Queen Eleanor plot to bring the unlikely pair together with a wager: If Rowena can teach Stryder to play the lute then she will be free; if not, they will wed. This becomes the least of their problems when someone begins assassinating members of the Brotherhood. As treachery, betrayal and accusations of murder mount against Stryder, Rowena becomes his unlikely champion.

This might appear a straightforward forced-marriage plot, but in MacGregor's capable hands it is an intensely emotional, exciting, suspenseful, brilliantly and intricately plotted romance filled with unanticipated twists and turns, all set against a vibrantly colorful historical backdrop. I was mesmerized from the first page, left breathless at the end. SENSUAL (May, 384 pp., $5.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin