The Official Description: In medieval England, duty is everything, personal honor is more valued than life itself, and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society.
Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.
Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of a gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian. It’s a partnership that will test every strand of his moral fiber, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honor, and love.
Just the facts: M/M period romance/intrigue, chivalry
An intense ride through the Medieval World as the unwanted and underestimated son of a King combines forces with an honourable knight trying to save his sister. – Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: This was a great story. I’ve read another of Eli Easton’s books and loved it (Puzzle Me) so I was pretty sure that I was going to enjoy this one. The story is centered on Christian, the youngest in a family that really doesn’t care much about him. Christian seems to have spent his entire young life trying to “better” and “more”. He’s a dead-eye with his bow, he can hunt and a life spent hiding his sexual orientation has made him protective and cunning.
Sir William is a fighter through and through. He’s fiercely loyal and dedicated which is how he finds his way to the King’s palace. He wants to aid his sister who has been handed off into a physically abusive marriage. The two men have different reactions to one another at first. Christian is instantly drawn to William. He sees a strong man, someone who is kind and principles and definitely a man he finds physically attractive. Christian has never really accepted that it is wrong to love another man, even though he recognizes how dangerous it would be to be open about his orientation. Christian’s brother’s… in particular Malcolm … have mocked and bullied him as he grew up.
I think that the author is eluding to William being more sexually fluid even though he lives in a time when he wouldn’t’ have had the slightest notion of what that really meant. In contrast to Christian’s youth, William’s was more gentle and nurturing. When he expressed an interest in boys… his brother told him it was normal… albeit something that he should get out of his system as a youth.
Even though the two men grew up very differently, Easton leaves no doubt that they are drawn to each other. As the two characters begin their journey to attempt to save William’s sister, the walls between them begin to crumble. They become comfortable traveling companions, friends and then ultimately… lovers. The progression of the relationship is well-paced and believable given the backgrounds of each man. I thought the author did a great job of touching on the varied events and conversations that resulted in the two men becoming emotionally attached to one another.
The novel is not without its challenging scenes. Christian is subjected to some horrifying abuse from his brother but Easton handled the scenes. Much of the abuse that goes on in the novel is discussed past tense being too detailed. I thought that Easton handled some uncomfortable situations for her characters with finesse and sensitivity.
The end of the novel left me a bit teary which caught me by surprise. The characters were engaging and well-rounded and I was drawn in completely by the story. 4-stars from me!
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) homophobia, bullying, attempted sexual assault, sexual assault in marriage, physical abuse, murder, battle scenes, death of main characters (at end of book).
Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel.
Links: Goodreads // The Author // Amazon
I received an ARC of The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton via Signal Boost PR in exchange for an unbiased review.