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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Review by Historical Novel Review

Posted by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer

In 5th century Britain, High King Uther Pendragon is old, frail, and sick. He has no known heir and must name one before he dies. Lesser king, Cadwallon, waits impatiently to take his place. But Uther Pendragon does indeed have an heir, his whereabouts a secret even to him. A son named Arthur who has been hidden away since birth under the guidance of an old, wise wizard. Almost no one knows of his existence. Soon, Arthur will be acknowledged as Uther Pendragon’s sole heir and high king. But until then, doubts swirl about his existence.

Marcus is a fallen confidant of Uther Pendragon. Over the years, he served as the high king’s spy. But now, he knows too much and he is no longer favoured or trusted by the king. He struggles to keep the peace between Cadwallon and the Christian Church, both desirous of increasing their power.

Marcus’ beloved wife, Claerwen is gifted with “fire in the head” (the ability to see the future). She was also a trusted servant of the king, having protected Uther’s daughter by taking her to Avalon. When her sister, Drysi, and a strange monk, Gwion, seek shelter with Marcus at their fortress, trouble mysteriously ensues. A Land Beyond Ravens is the 4th and final book of the Macsen’s Treasure Series. Even though I had not read the preceding novels, I was easily able to follow the plot and relevant backstory through clever, brief snippets throughout the story. The reader follows the numerous twists and turns of the story through the point of view of the two main characters, Marcus and Claerwan, created completely from the imagination of author Kathleen Cunningham Guler. As such, this keeps the story fresh and unique from the actual Arthurian Legend. Guler writes with a strong voice and vibrant prose. Her use of Welsh and Celtic names and words adds realism to the skilfully woven tale. She is a master at creating unique, unusual characters which draw the reader deeper into the story in anxious desire to unlock their secrets.

I highly recommend this book to afficionado’s of the Arthurian legend. The previous books in the series are Into the Path of Gods, In the Shadow of Dragons, and The Anvil Stone.

Historical Novel Review Blog

Review by Crystal Reviews

Reviewed by Viviane Crystal

In 5th Century Britain, King Uther is physically failing! A ruler who never took hostages has now become suspicious of his trusted spy, Marcus ap Iorwerth, who has held pivotal secrets protecting the realm and now is being treated like a foreign enemy! Into this mix arises the presence of Uther's son, Arthur, who appears to have a design to defeat the encroaching Saxons, a plan that Uther has been slow to accept in spite of failure and in spite of the fact that the lords under Uther are divided in their support and rejection of his ruthless ways. Add to that mixture the rising influence of the Catholic Church, whose loyalty and power appear to sway with whoever is victorious, a changing tide from day to day!

Marcus and his wife, Claerwen are determined to do all in their power to work for freedom, loyalty and love of Britain but are heavily burdened by all of these conflicting forces working for self-gain and destroying the kingdom in the process. Marcus is haunted by the devastating loss of a dearly loved one, and the machinations of Claerwen's sister brings fear and treachery to the home of Marcus and Claerwen, a place of peace, trust and deep respect for the old Druid ways. Their deep love, however, is the force that enemies fail to calculate and one that strengthens them for the deepest of challenges.

Merlin the Enchanter has prophesied that one day a phenomenal King will rule Britain and usher in a new, unprecedented age of glory and honor. He is everywhere that matters and is relying on the allegiance of Marcus and Claerwen, even after Uther tries to divide this dedicated couple by taking a cherished family member a prisoner to guarantee Marcus's obedience. Who will prevail? It isn't so obvious and the confusing battles make the reader doubt whether goodness will prevail.

Kathleen Cunningham Guler possesses a particular gift of blending history, adventure, mystery and passionate love into a story so engaging that one can't stop reading and yet dreads the end of such an engaging, riveting story! Unsure whether there will be other stories to follow in this dynamic, wonderful series, this reviewer believes the end of A Land Beyond Ravens holds forth the possibility of another book to follow in this multiple-award-winning series, which is a great thought, indeed!

Crystal Reviews

Review by TCM Reviews

Reviewed by Victoria Kennedy

It’s fifth century Britain and Uther Pendragon rules as high king. His son Arthur has vanished, taken into hiding the day of his birth by the druid, Myrddin Emrys, nephew to the king.

Marcus ap Iorwerth, master spy and loyal subject of the king and his clairvoyant wife Claerwen, have worked hard for many years to see that Myrddin’s vision of Arthur as king comes to fruition. King Uther’s declining health and ill temper become a problem when the king accuses Marcus of betraying him. Uther punishes Marcus by destroying his sword and sending him home.

The Christian church’s continuing bid for power becomes a threat to Arthur’s future reign and the peace of the kingdom. Marcus must now do what he can to prevent the church’s plots from doing too much damage and it won’t be an easy task. Claerwen has her own problems with strange dreams of a mysterious grail that’s linked to Author’s fate.

A Land Beyond Ravens entertains and gives the reader a haunting glimpse into a myth shrouded past filled with legends, magic and heroes. It’s well written and a great read for both fans of Celtic history and fantasy buffs as well.

TCM Reviews

Author Interview with Feathered Quill Book Reviews

Check out my interview with Feathered Quill Book Reviews:

Feathered Quill interview with Kathleen Cunningham Guler
Book trailer video for A LAND BEYOND RAVENS!
Watch "The Anvil Stone" book video below: