Gisborne: Book of Knights (Second in the Gisborne Saga)
I am always wary of coming into a series other than with the first book, for two reasons: one being it is not always easy to pick up the story without spoiling the reading experience. The other is if the book is good I regret not reading book one first. I’m happy to say, reason two certainly fits Ms Batten’s second novel in her Gisborne Saga.
Written using a first-person narrative, Ysabel Moncrieff‘s days in Aquitaine are full of loneliness and despair as she does not know the fate of her lover, Gisborne, (the previous story in book one, I assume.) But one day, news comes which changes her life. Against advice, Ysabel sets out to discover for herself the truth behind what she has heard.
Traveling to one of the strongholds of the Knights of St John in Crete, she faces danger and court intrigues that have followed in Richard the Lionheart’s wake during the Crusades. However, her presence may undermine Gisborne’s role as a spy, for enemies within the King’s camp are determined to destroy Richard.
The plot is intriguing and exciting, with nice touches of romance. The characters fascinating, and the twists unexpected. My only comment, being a little over-picky, is that perhaps the story would have been that bit more exciting if the opening few chapters had moved on more quickly. Ysabel did occasionally come over as slightly irritating in a few places, but that might have been because I had not met her in Book One, so I was uncertain of her characteristics. Once she set off on her adventures, though, she sprang to life.
There are clearly a few untied threads in this part of the saga – but a few hooks to ensure readers read on to book three is not a bad thing.