The Lady of Morlaix, formerly known as
Maid Marian, has been sent to Prince John's Court by his
mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Marian's assignment is
to report back anything treasonous to the Queen without her
wayward son discovering the truth. What she discovers is
that the court is rife with political and carnal corruption.
Marian's mission becomes more difficult due to her
attraction to the outlaw Robin Hood and his nemesis, the
Sheriff of Nottingham. The men distract her from her sworn
duty to the Queen, while she must keep her wits to elude
Prince John's lustful attentions. When Marian is forced to
participate in the prince's wicked and wanton games, she is
becomes closer to the bandit and the sheriff. As the
tumultuous dance of intrigue and desire plays out, Marian
must examine her own heart to make the right choice before
her all secrets are revealed.
As a long time fan of Robin Hood, there
was no way I could pass up a chance to read Bound by
Honor. I was awed by Collette Gale's fantastic
research and characterizations. Her writing is
movie-picture perfect, depicting every scene, physical trait
and nuance with razor-sharp precision and crisp detailing.
Marian is the same capable and
courageous heroine from the classic, yet she is a woman
whose awakening sexuality and sensual assertiveness
compliments her strong persona. More than once, Marian was
an important part of a few plot twists that were all in
keeping with her adventurous spirit. Robin Hood and William
de Wendeval, the Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, are placed
center stage in the beginning as sunlight and shadow, hero
and villain, but Ms. Gale doesn't enforce the old black and
white labels. The author blurs the lines with a liberal
splash of gray, hinting at that what everyone perceives
might not be the entire truth. Robin Hood is dashing,
bold and reckless, carrying all the pretension of a bad boy
rock star with a taste for charitable causes. The sheriff
is painted with dark flourish and waiting in the shadows for
his moment, his aura, sheer Byronic sex appeal. Robin is
cocksure, fearless and as playful as a golden retriever in
contrast to Will de Wendeval's brooding pathos and sinister
panther strut. Is there any wonder that Marian had such a
time deciding between them?
Prince John is true to his name and
status, indulging his carnal appetites and vices while
partially adhering and giving lip service to social
restrictions. Dowager Queen Eleanor and King Richard are
beacons to light the way out of the dark maze he's created.
One of the best aspects about this novel is those wearing
the tights are not necessarily the ones to save the day.
Still, the excesses the licentious ruler employs account for
a large amount of the eroticism and court intrigue. It's
also a clever way to underline the validity of the
relationships while forging bonds of trust, love and
intimacy between our main players. Everything is neatly
tied together with solid realism, offering a large pile of
HEA sweetness. I was swept away by this passionate (and
hot!) reworking of this popular literary favorite.