As a young boy Shadoe un Hollo Tors’ life is shattered by the death of King Arthur and Guenevere to whom he was devoted. Together with the betrayal perpetrated by his father, Merlin and the loss of Camelot, his faith in God lays in tatters. After suffering torture at the hands of the evil Mordred, Shadoe flees to the Continent and into the life of a mercenary.
Ignorant of her true heritage, Emerald Rose Rayn has been raised by Lancelot, in the ways of a warrior and not of a princess. Her mentor and friend, Mer, leaves her bereft when he dies but with a promise that her knight and godsend will come and to her alone will give his heart.
A dream steeped in reality draws a reluctant Shadoe, with his stallion Destrier and his wolf Echo, back to his childhood home and into the path of the independent and vivacious Rayn, who both enchants and infuriates him. Shadoe’s destiny is to appoint the rightful heir to Arthur’s empty throne but he fights the memory of his father and the trauma of his past. Rayn’s faith is both a blessing and a challenge to him but it will not go untested as the heir to the throne of Camelot is challenged by Shadoe’s cousin and nemesis, Mordred and as his evil mother, Morgause summons the powers of darkness to secure his victory.
It is no surprise that Legend of the Emerald Rose was the ACFW Book of the Year in 2005 and nominated for a Christy award in 2006. Linda Wichman has penned an epic tale of lore, loyalty and love and I was still completely enthralled when reading it for the third time for this review!
Shadoe is a man of integrity and courage mixed with the vulnerability of a young boy traumatised by the loss of those he loved. Rayn is delightful as she transforms from a warrior waif into the regal princess she is, fighting it all the way. The attraction between the two is spirited and sparks fly with every interaction. Linda is not shy about revealing their true feelings which makes for an authentic read. Needless to say Linda does not restrict her excellent character development to the main protagonists. Merlin, Lancelot, Mordred and Niamh, Shadoe’s estranged mother, are beautifully portrayed and you are transported to the shores of Camelot and the time of knights and maidens when the fight between good and evil was a noble and vital quest.
This book would rate as one of my all time favourites and I would love to see a sequel. That being said I would read anything that Linda produces in the future.