Monday, May 13, 2013

A Prince to be Feared by Mary Lancaster

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Read: May 1, 2013

Europe’s most fearsome prisoner, Vlad Dracula, gifted military commander and one time Prince of Wallachia, the notorious Lord Impaler himself, is about to be released after twelve long years, in order to hold back the tide of Ottoman aggression. The price of his new alliance with his Hungarian captors is the king’s cousin Ilona. Ilona does not wish to be married. In particular, she doesn’t wish to marry Vlad. Gentle, faded and impossibly vague, Ilona is hardly fit for court life, let alone for dealing with so difficult a husband. But Ilona’s wishes have nothing to do with Vlad’s reputation and everything to do with a lifelong love affair that finally broke her. Ilona’s family blame Vlad; Vlad vows to discover the truth and sets out by unconventional means to bring back the woman who once enchanted him. Among court intrigues, international manoeuvrings and political deceptions, Vlad reveals himself more victim than villain. But he’s still more than capable of reclaiming his lost rights to both Wallachia and Ilona; and Ilona, when it counts, has enough strength for them both.

════════════════════════════ ❧  ════════════════════════════

By Chatsam (GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0),
 via Wikimedia Commons
I loved what Lancaster did with A Prince to be Feared. Just the basic idea, the juxtaposition of taking Vlad Dracula, a character largely vilified and humanizing him, is truly captivating. Perhaps it is because I know so little about the history involved, but her work, despite being fiction, really makes you reconsider who this man might have been. Was he the tyrant of legend or a maligned hero?  

Another noteworthy aspect of the piece is Ilona. Lancaster counters her larger than life male lead with an equally impressive love interest, balancing his vivid energy against her subtle and steady strength. As a reader, it took me longer to appreciate Ilona, but in the end I think she is actually my favorite of the entire cast. 

Perhaps my only true complaint is that the book has no historic note. Granted I read an advanced reader's copy and can't speak to the final edition, but I personally like to reflect on what is fact and what is fiction and unfortunately could not do that without some sort of notation. 

Different yet memorable, A Prince to be Feared, offers a unique perspective on the three-time Voivode of Wallachia.

════════════════════════════ ❧  ════════════════════════════
She was biased, of course, because she loved him. But there had always been something about him, some brilliance that drew others and held them.
════════════════════════════ ❧  ════════════════════════════

check out all the stops on Mary Lancaster's A Prince to be feared VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR 

Monday, May 13
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, May 14
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie
Review & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, May 15
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, May 16
Review at A Bookish Affair
Guest Post & Giveaway at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!
Friday, May 17
Feature & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

1 comment:

Mary Lancaster said...

Erin, thanks for kicking off my tour here at Flashlight Commentary! And thanks so much for your lovely review - so glad you liked Vlad and Ilona :).