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Lord of Vengeance (English Edition)
 
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Lord of Vengeance (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Lara Adrian
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Extrait

Prologue

England, 1140

The ground no longer rumbled with the thunder of horses' hooves and the clash of weapons. The air, still acrid with smoke from the smoldering ruins of the castle perched high on the motte and the sacked village at its base, was quiet. The damage was done; the enemy hadn't lingered. After all, it wasn't the castle he'd come to claim.

From across the trampled, body-littered field, a gentle breeze began to stir, drifting like a ghostly tendril over the carnage to where a boy lay, facedown and wounded. It ruffled his dark hair, coaxing him back to consciousness as it caressed his bruised and bloodied cheek.

"Mother?" he murmured, though he knew she was gone, slain before his very eyes just hours ago by Baron Luther d'Bussy, one of King Stephen's more ruthless warlords, when she refused to become his whore. Refused to share her bed with the man who had killed her husband three days past in a tournament gone awry.

Ten-year-old Gunnar Rutledge sobbed at the memory, gasping in a ragged breath and choking on the sweet, pungent scent of Wynbrooke's soil and the metallic taste of his own blood.

Just out of his grasp lay his father's signet ring, the token his mother had tearfully removed from her husband's stiff, dead finger as he'd lain in state. Despite the tremors of siege that had set the tiny chapel's stone walls quaking that morning, her voice had remained strong.

"Keep this always," she had said as she pressed the ring into his palm, "and remember your father's courage ... his honor. When you are grown, wear it and make me proud."

But he hadn't made her proud. Instead, to his shame, he'd watched her die. Helpless and afraid, his arms twisted behind him by a large guard, he had pleaded with the baron to spare her. Withstood the man's drunken, taunting laughter. Weathered the physical blows.

And screamed in terror an instant later when d'Bussy's blade ended her life.

How he had managed to break free of his captor's iron grasp, Gunnar could not recall. His last memory had been of running. Running out of the castle, down the motte, and through the field as fast as he could with a knight on horseback close behind him. Legs pumping, lungs near to bursting, he headed for the stream, thinking he might be able to hide in the bramble that flanked it. The thought had scarcely formed when, over the pounding hoofbeats, he'd heard a sword rasp from its scabbard. Then, in an instant, his world, his life, had gone black.

Now, through the haze of pain enveloping his senses, Gunnar heard the squeak of a cart wheel and the murmur of voices. Men's voices. Two of them: one close, the other several paces behind. Footsteps halted near his head.

"Merrick, come!"

Gunnar knew the name of the man summoned, recognized the old healer's limp in the crunch of twigs and pine needles beneath his heavy gait as he approached, the familiar smell of herbs clinging to his clothes.

"Look ye what I found near this unfortunate thief."

Merrick clucked, his voice somber. "'Tis the Rutledge signet ruby."

"Are ye certain?"

"Aye. Yestereve it rested on milord's lifeless hand in chapel. And lest you mean to keep it for yourself, my friend, think first on the price this lad paid for stealing--" Merrick suddenly sucked in his breath. "Jesu!" he exclaimed, falling to his knees. "This is no thief bleeding at our feet, man. Look closer! 'Tis young lord Gunnar!"

Heavy fingers inspected Gunnar's ravaged back, tore the sticky linen of his rent tunic away from his wounds. The old man swore an oath. "'Tis by far the worst damage I've ever seen suffered on a child."

"Is he dead?"

"Nay, but soon enough, I reckon." Gunnar heard a rustle of fabric, then felt the rough wool of the old man's cloak cover him. "Half-dead or nay, I'll not leave him to rot out here like some hapless beast. If I cannot heal him, I can at least provide him comfort in his final hours. Come, help me lift him."

Limbs numb from loss of blood, Gunnar felt himself rise from the ground, heard the men's scuffling footsteps in the grass as they hefted him several paces from where he had lain. The sweet tang of moldy hay assailed his nostrils before he felt the crush of his own weight, and he was placed on his stomach atop a straw-lined litter. His rescuers hurriedly dragged him across the field toward the village.

Each rut they hit, every furrow, nearly jolted him senseless with pain, but his broken heart continued to beat. God help him, but he did not want to live. He had proven a coward; he deserved to die. Living would mean every day facing his guilt, his dishonor. He was too weak; he could not bear it. He prayed for deliverance from his suffering, from the anguish of his shame. His family was gone, his home destroyed. What reason had he to live? What purpose?

The answer came swiftly, softly at first, a dark whisper that curled around him, anchoring his soul to the earth with shadowy tethers. It called to him, beckoning him to hold on, entreating him to fight.

And as the healer carried him into his hut and went to work on his wounds, the whisper grew in strength and meaning until it filled his mind, his heart, his soul. It was a single word. A mantra. A vow.

Vengeance.


Chapter One

England, 1153

Baron d'Bussy's name was on the lips of well nigh everyone in England. For weeks past, criers had spread news of his grand tournament to the far reaches of the land, the scores of tents and pavilions now pitched on the wide plain outside Norworth Castle a testament to both his vanity and his thoroughness. Everywhere, pennons and colors flew, marking the independent warriors and those representing neighboring baronies and lords.

In the gathering twilight, men, women, and children--perhaps a hundred in all--wandered the wide avenue that ran through the center of the makeshift village. At the far end of the lane, two men, stripped down to their braies, fought bare-fisted to the gasps and cheers of a small circle of enthralled spectators. Boasting, swaggering knights were everywhere, many stumbling drunkenly toward their tents with a wench--some with two--under their arms. The more serious-minded competitors and dutiful squires tended destriers; others sat outside their tents polishing armor and inspecting weapons that would be well used on the morrow.

Amid this festival atmosphere, a distant flash of lightning went unnoticed.

It ripped across the darkening sky and reflected in a pair of eyes staring not at the bustling valley but at the castle looming over it. Those emotionless eyes, deep and cool as the forest that obscured them, blinked once, then looked up to the dismal clouds.

Rain.

It began to fall almost immediately, pattering softly onto the canopy of leaves above, then swelling into a hard summer downpour that swept quickly toward the encampment. A grimace twisted the full lips that had until then been set in a determined line. Heavy rain meant a certain postponement of the morrow's tournament and worse, a delay of his promise.

Gunnar Rutledge cursed, his muttered oath swallowed up by a loud roll of thunder. Beneath him, his black destrier stirred in alarm, eyes wide and anxious. With a low murmur that sounded more like a warning than comfort, Gunnar quieted the beast, stroking its neck with a rough, unpracticed hand.

He had no use for fear, nor the experience to soothe it. Long ago he'd dispensed with his own fear, expelling it and any other emotion that might one day prove a weakness. He knew naught of celebration, did not indulge in dreams. His mind was fed on logic, his twenty-three-year-old body honed with hard work and countless battles until it now seemed more an extension of his armor and weaponry than it did flesh and bone. He had banished his feelings and exorcised his demons.

Save one.

And now that demon had invited him into his lair, offering an opportunity more perfect than Gunnar could possibly have conspired to arrange on his own. He wondered if the baron ever thought about the possibility that he had survived. Did he sit up there in that massive stone fortress and consider--even for a moment--that a reckoning was imminent? Had he ever tasted fear? Did he feel as damned as the boy he had left on that field thirteen years past?

Soon he would.

For according to the Holy Church, to slay a man in tourney was to condemn him to eternal damnation. Hence, melees were fought with ceremonial blades--dulled, though nonetheless dangerous--and blunted lances.

Yet accidents happened.

Private scores were settled.

To avenge his mother, Gunnar would confront Luther d'Bussy. To avenge his father, he would triumph in the lists. The plan was simple enough. Best the baron, put the fear of God in his eyes. Make him plead for mercy.

And show him none.

The idea that he himself might not survive the day hadn't given Gunnar a moment's pause. He would keep his promise, no matter the price.

As the rain slanted down from heavy clouds, driving everyone to the shelter of their tents and turning the lists to mud, Gunnar wheeled his mount about and headed into the forest to make camp in solitude and search for patience enough to wait out the storm.



Bright morning sunlight filled the sky as Raina d'Bussy burst from Norworth's open gate astride a dappled gray mare and sped down the side of the motte. The fresh scent of the previous night's rains still clung to the air, but she scarcely noticed it. She rode at breakneck speed, the skirts of her bliaut rucked up over her knees and her unbound hair billowing in a wild, sable curtain behind her. With a gleeful laugh she leaned forward over her mount's neck, urging it on faster and faster past the empty, bemired lists and across the marshy ground. Warm, muddy water splashed around her and kicked off the horse's hoove...

Literary Times

Medieval England sets the stage for Tina St. John's debut novel Gunnar Rutledge is hell-bent on seeking vengeance against the man who destroyed his family. He has spent years plotting his revenge. He takes Raina d'Bussy, his enemy's daughter, as a hostage. Filled with images of the past, Gunnar fights his feelings toward the lovely beauty and instead focuses on the horrors her father caused. But Gunnar has met a powerful foe in Raina, a young woman truly devoted to her father. She denies Gunnar's claims and defends her father's honor. As the two spend more time together, Gunnar begins to soften toward Raina. As the details unfold regarding the past, Raina gets a glimpse of the pain that has driven Gunnar for so long. When it is time for Raina to return home, she is full of hope that the two men can meet and resolve their differences. It never happens. Instead, an evil plot is revealed, pitting Gunnar and Raina in a fight for their lives -- and their love. Ms. St. John has done a remarkable job with her debut novel, giving us characters with real fire and passion! They easily leap off the pages as first they fight one another and then they fall in love. Readers will be torn between rooting for Gunnar's vengeance and his budding love for Raina. A remarkable debut novel! Amy Wilson -- Copyright © 1999 Literary Times, Inc. All rights reserved

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 756 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 356 pages
  • Utilisation simultanée de l'appareil : Illimité
  • Editeur : Lara Adrian, LLC (11 avril 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B007TL11B0
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°93.954 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Lara Adrian's First Book 19 octobre 2012
Format:Format Kindle
This is the first book written by Lara Adrian, known for her midnight breed series, written under the pseudonym Tina St John. It is a historical love story, showing what a great writer she will become, but not a very exiting book otherwise at least for me.

Gunnar Rutledge father and mother were slaughtered when he was only 10 years old. He himself nearly died as well. 13 years later he has become a ruthless warrior, having only one goal in life: to seek revenge. This is when he meets Raina, who captures him. When he however finds out that she is the daughter of Baron d'Bussy, the man who killed his parents he tries to forget her. When he does not manage otherwise to lure the baron to a direct confrontation, he kidnaps his daughter... not so sure that this is such a good idea especially for his own mental balance. And how can he still kill her father once she has captured his heart?

As always the male character of the author's book is a real alpha, strong and handsome, dark and lovely. One really comes to like him and Raina a lot.
But the story is nothing really extraordinary, the writing is nice, the bad guy is a really bad guy and it is not very clear who the good guy is. What really annoyed me is the unreasoned attraction, the intensity of the touches which is much easier than the really make them fall in love which each other due to their characters and not only because this is the way it has to be. Raina does uncover more of Gunnar's great character, but only once she already fell for him.

Otherwise it is a nice, not great historical romance for a nice not exceptional afternoon.

Enjoy the read MBTM
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  178 commentaires
47 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Will love conquer the quest for vengeance? 18 avril 2012
Par MsRomanticReads - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Edit: Please be aware that this isn't a new story from the popular Ms Adrian. This story was first published back in 1995! So keep that in mind before comparing the writing to that of the Midnight Breed series which is more recent.

4.5 stars

First of all the new cover is HOT! This was a wonderful historical romance and first novel by Lara Adrian (author of the immensely popular Midnight Breed series). I know her only through that modern paranormal series, so I wasn't sure what to expect of this historical piece. I wasn't disappointed.

As a young boy, Gunnar Rutledge has never forgotten his father's murder, nor the slaying of his mother at the hands of Baron d'Bussy. Now fully grown and a ruthless warrior, he vows to seek vengeance on his enemy. When he meets the lovely Raina, he's shocked to learn that she is his enemy's daughter. When none of his taunts work to lure the Baron into a confrontation, he kidnaps Raina to use her as bait. During her ten day captivity, Raina never imagined she'd learn the truth about her family and come to love the brutish warrior, who not only captured her, but her heart as well. But how can she love Gunnar when he seeks to kill her only family? Is he willing to sacrifice his quest for retribution in favor of gaining so much more?

You can't help but love Gunnar, despite his stubbornness to stay the course he has set for himself. The tough exterior he presented hid the man he truly was at his core. His endless needling of Raina brought out his cheeky side and she showed him how feisty she could really be. The build up to their HEA was nicely paced and the true story between their two families unfolded in a steady flow. The only thing I had an issue with was the Baron's confession at the end. He was definitely certifiable, and I thought Raina let him off the hook too easily in the face of all her father had done. And don't even get me started on Nigel (that was a surprise).

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed their story, and for $0.99 this book is a steal!
28 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An AWESOME Medieval! 10 mars 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
How did I miss this book when it came out last summer! What an awesome story! I blazed thru LORD OF VENGEANCE in a couple of days and was very sorry when I came to the end. Tina St. John has written an emotional, fast paced story packed with action and romance and so many wonderful characters. I felt like I was right there with Gunnar and Raina the whole time, and I just adored Alaric (Gunnar's squire) and even crotchety old Agnes!
If you like the medievals of Lynn Kurland or Elizabeth Elliot, you're going to love Tina St. John! And I'm so glad to see she has a new one out next month! Keep them coming, Ms. St. John!
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE 3 septembre 2001
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
This is the first book I've read by Ms. St. John and it was a good one. More than just your typical hero rescues heroine story. This one has heart and delves into the idea of forgiveness and getting on with your life. Good story. Try ONCE A WARRIOR by Karyn Monk if you liked this one.
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A little too chaste for this old gal 22 juin 2012
Par Chrissy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
***********SPOILERS****************

I haven't read her paranormal series and figured I'd start out with something a bit more mainstream like this here Lord of Vengeance. However, that was a mistake on my part. The writing is good, the settings and word choice seem like they fit the time period, and I can tell the author knows her craft, but (yep, there's a 'but') I got bored. I got seriously bored. The heroine is way too innocent and good with no hangups whatsoever and she's a virgin, oh, and she's 18. 18? 18, seriously author? Anyway, I just couldn't really feel her character (innocent princess-type with heart of gold). Maybe that's more a reflection on me than on the book, but so be it. I found myself skimming the paragraphs until I got to the dialogue because the heroine's inner workings bored me to tears. The "Lord of Vengeance" was also boring because he seemed like an emotional chit most of the time while outwardly claiming he had no emotions. Huh? His main emotion is self-loathing, but he doesn't even do that right because he's so confident all the frickin' time, especially when it comes to Raina. But, like I said, it's not that it's done badly, but that it didn't speak to me or hold my attention. The initial sex scene was yawn-inducing tame and not super detailed. But, then again, I suppose I've read too much Black Dagger Brotherhood for my own good . . .

So, to that end, 3 stars for this book of a beautiful virgin who is sugar and spice and needs to be saved from the evil rapey men all the time and can't fend for herself.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 5 Stars are not enough! 10 novembre 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
This book has it all. Romance, passion, suspense, excitement, humor, and great love scenes.
Gunnar and Raina are a very believable couple. Gunnar is a powerful knight, but not inhumanly untouchable. Raina is innocent, but she has courage and strength. They don't fall in love too fast, nor are you made to wait until the last pages for their relationship to blossom. When they do come together, they are magic. You can't help but feel joy for them.
Gunnar is a proud knight, and the Lord of his castle. He is brave and strong, but his soul is lost in a quest for vengeance against the man who slew his parents. His heart and his life are changed forever when innocent Raina gives him her favor at a tournament of local knights. To his dismay, he finds out that she is the daughter of the very man he seeks to kill. As a man of honor, Gunnar refuses to take the man's life in any way other than a man to man battle. To insure that Raina's father will meet him in battle, Gunnar steals her away to his humble castle. All the while, another nemesis seeks to destroy both Gunnar and Raina's father. What will become of them all? You'll have to read the book to find out!
At 325 pages, I still read this book in one day... because I simply could not put it down. Never boring, you'll enjoy the fierce sword battles, romantic loves scenes, and humorous antics of Gunnar's knights.
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