Gloria: The Merlin and the Saint

Written by Ann Chamberlin
Review by Suzanne J. Sprague

Yann and his milk brother Gilles de Rais follow the old religion, a persecuted practice in 1428 AD. Craft priest Yann disguises himself as a Dominican priest while the Lord of Rais serves Charles the Dauphin. Together, they must aid La Pucelle, the maid prophesied to lead France out of a hundred years of war, in her mission to crown the Dauphin King of France. First they must reclaim Orleans from the English and then convince the Dauphin, who is manipulated by unscrupulous advisors, to journey to Rheims for his coronation. Gilles loves La Pucelle, astonishing because of his preference for men, and is her appointed bodyguard. However, La Pucelle’s virginity is key to her strength and to her guiding voices. Yann, Merlin’s heir, forms a coven to give magical aid by means of potions, incantations, and animal sacrifice when needed.

Chamberlin’s superb imagery and writing style keep the reader engaged in the battles and the relationships. While enjoyable, a better appreciation is inevitable if the Joan of Arc Tapestries series is read in order. This account of Joan of Arc will satisfy most readers seeking fantasy-filled historical fiction.