Under the Approaching Dark

Written by Anna Belfrage
Review by Viviane Crystal

Adam de Guirande deeply desires an end to the turbulence in his world. In the year 1327, Hugh Despenser and his lord, King Edward II, are dead. The people, including Adam’s wife, Kit, also hunger for stability and peace. Edward III is too young to rule, and so England is ruled by his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Sir Roger Mortimer, a fact greatly resented by other lords, such as Lancaster. Edward III is getting older, however, and growing to resent the policies the Regents dictate, especially that of consoling Scotland rather than destroying it.

The novel has several subplots, and Adam becomes involved in all of them as he is called upon to serve the young Prince Edward. While that should be fine, there is such distrust that tempers flare; tournament matches become brutal attacks that result in severe injuries. Meanwhile, the rumor is spreading that the old King Edward is not dead, that Adam and Kit’s son Tom is not dead, and that rebels in the country are going to take over the crown.

What the author deftly mixes into all this tension is the romantic passion between Adam and Kit, the introduction of a very young but wise Queen Philippa, and other choice scenes that blend sultry sex with humor and wisdom, reducing the tension to manageable levels. Anna Belfrage is a born storyteller, and she obviously has done exceptional research, adding to the credibility of the facts within this novel. Under the Approaching Dark is commendable, highly recommended historical fiction. You’ll want to read her other works, which are just as magnificent!