Friday, February 27, 2015

Dee Davis -- Endgame

Dee Davis -- Endgame

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.35}           {Third Read: February 26, 2015}
Action: ♠♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥.♥ / Sensuous: ♦♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠♠
Action: 2.0 / Emotion: 3.0 / Romance: 3.5 / Sensuous: 2.0 / Suspense: 4.0  //  Laughter: 1 / Giggle: 1  //  Tears: 0 / Teary: 0

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.65}           {Second Read: March 20, 2012}
Action: ♠♠.♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥ / Sensuous: ♦♦.♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠♠.♠
Action: 2.5 / Emotion: 4.0 / Romance: 3.0 / Sensuous: 2.5 / Suspense: 4.5  //  Laughter: 4 / Giggle: 1  //  Tears: 0 / Teary: 2

Setting:       New York City
Era:             Present Day (2005)
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Oh my goodness!   What a difference your frame of mind makes when you're reading.   The first two times I read this book, I was so into the book, so into the story that I laughed and cried.   This time when I read the book, my mind was off kilter.   I didn't really seem to be in the mood to read (if such a state of mind is truly possible).   I read this book because I was on a roll when it came to making blog entries and wanted to see if I could write a better review about Endgame.

Dee Davis can be found on my "Favorite Authors" list.   She has a wonderful style of writing that really draws readers into whatever story she is telling.   Endgame, the first book in The Last Chance Trilogy, is just another example of Davis's skill at telling a thrilling, intriguing, attention-grabbing story.   If there was a drawback while reading this book, it was that Davis choose to write this story around a subject that was (for some reason) not all that interesting.   Sorry, but reading details about the American Business Consortium, a group of about fifty U.S. companies working on a trade deal with China, was not the most stimulating subject matter out there.   It was obvious, however, that Davis choose this background to feature the big man behind the scenes that brought all the main characters into play.

Davis did an excellent job of immediately drawing the reader into the suspenseful nature of the story as she opened the book with a well-written scene describing the assassination of the current chairman of ABC.   In two short pages Davis introduced and ended the life of Bingham "Bing" Smith.   Davis did such a great job of describing the scene that it was like standing right next to Bing, feeling his frustration because he was late to a meeting and his driver had not arrived, thus forcing him to have to take the subway.
"Subways disgusted him.   Humanity pressed together, pushing and shoving, all decorum lost."   (Bing, page 13)
When an old man painfully jabs Bing with his umbrella and rushes on, you could not help but begin to feel sorry for Bing simply because you knew that, as a character in a Romantic Suspense novel, it was obvious that Bing had just been fatally wounded.   Davis created that immediate connection to the reader, who can't help but wonder: {1} who killed Bing; {2} why was Bing the chosen victim; {3} what deal was Bing closing; {4} inconsequently, where was Bing's driver; {5} what role does Bing's death play in the story line, and finally, {6} what in the world does the last very cryptic sentence of the prologue mean?
"Six down, three to go."   (Killer, page 15)
The next character Davis introduces is the dynamic, intelligent, self-confident heroine, FBI profiler, Madison Harper.   Davis writes a powerful scene, reminiscent of those featuring Brenda Leigh Johnson of the tv series, The Closer.   Davis's writing is so profoundly realistic that with one very well-written, descriptive sentence, she almost has readers wrinkling their noses in disgust as Madison thinks:
"Interrogation rooms ranked only slightly above gas station restrooms in the stench and filth department."   (page 16)
Madison then proceeds to gain the "resentful admiration" of Detective Barton (who was playing bad cop to her good cop role) as she sweet talks a confession from the suspect, Paul Jackson, the man who killed Connie Weston, a vivacious fifth grader.

After concluding the interrogation, Madison is surprised to find her boss, Walter Blythe, director of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, waiting outside the interrogation room to give her the bad news that she is to be relieved of all her current assignments to co-lead a special task force being assembled by her godfather, the wealthy, powerful, "has the president's ear" businessman Cullen Pulaski.   Madison is furious because she has struggled to succeed in her chosen career by her skill set alone, making sure that no strings were pulled in her advancement by either her wealthy and powerful father, Philip Merrick, nor her godfather.

Madison is not the only main character furious at being manipulated by Cullen.   Evan Jensen, the CIA's youngest deputy director pulls one of his best CIA operatives, loner, rule-breaking, Gabriel "Gabe" Roarke, from his undercover operation to inform him that the man that created a haunting history for him, has requested that Gabe share command of a special task force.   Cullen wants Gabe to find the man who is killing off members of the American Business Consortium.   Cullen is a member of the consortium that has been diligently working on a lucrative business arrangement with a Chinese delegation for the past three years.

Over fourteen years ago, Gabe was the leader of a Delta Force Unit (called Last Chance, Inc.) that Cullen commandeered to make a last ditch effort to rescue one of his employees being held hostage in Iraq.   Staying within the guidelines as proscribed by any black ops operation, Davis does not reveal any details about the operation that plagues the minds of the three survivors of the eight-man rescue team.   (Seeing as how this is fiction, it would have been interesting, however, to read about the operation that fills Gabe with guilt.)   Because Gabe is allowed to choose his task force members, he calls on the other two men who survived that operation.

Davis is talented at including succinct, well-written sentences that increase the degree of suspense to an already intriguing plot line.   Nigel Ferris leaves his own undercover operation for MI6 to answer Gabe's call for help on the Cullen Pulaski case.   You cannot help but be fascinated by Nigel (hero of book three, Exposure), as Davis brings this complex character to life with moments of charm, wit, loyalty, disrespect and deceit.   Nigel's conflict is evidenced quickly:
"Gabriel Roarke wasn't a man one wanted to cross, and certainly never betray."   "And yet, if Nigel was to be true to his directive -- that's exactly what he was about to do."   (page 31)
Davis is going to have to do an amazing job at redeeming Nigel because, while he was loyal to his country, he did, in fact, betray his friend.   After discovering Nigel's sabotage, Gabe and Payton tried to explain about the perceptions of right and wrong in the intelligence world, but I have to agree with Madison and Harrison -- that Nigel should pay some price for his actions.
"It's a gray area, right and wrong.   As I said before it's all perception.   What we view as right is wrong for someone else."   (Gabe, page 287)
Again, Davis inspires the desire to know about that Delta Force rescue fourteen years ago to understand what happened that resulted in the scar that bisected the face of the final member of Gabe's team, Payton Reynolds.   Payton's lone wolf persona almost makes Gabe seem like a people person.   Payton is a great asset to the team because of his contacts to Beijing.   Even though Payton attempts to blend into the background, he fails because Davis imbues him with such a strong sense of presence.   Davis also did such a great job of describing Payton's deep, almost inaudible voice, that when he spoke, you almost leaned forward to read his words.   Davis really make Payton come across as an outstanding character as she wrote scene after scene in which Nigel taunted Payton, and not once did Payton take the bait.   Davis portrayed Payton with strength, intelligence, and intuition.   Davis did such a great job of developing Payton's personality that she has insured that readers will want to pick up the next book in the series (Enigma) to read his story.

Gabe was not the only team leader to call in people he could trust to back him.   Madison asked her friend and one of the best computer forensic's men in the country to join the task force.   Harrison Blake was the epitome of the boy next door -- a charismatic, charming, sunny-dispositioned, multi-tasking, computer genius.   Harrison had trained with Madison at Quantico, but he left the FBI to work for the Phoenix group.   Davis's creativity was highlighted when she used Harrison's insight and friendship with Madison (the people-reading expert) to point out Madison's interest in her co-leader.   Feelings Madison didn't want to admit.
"Was it my imagination or did he have a bit of a God complex?"
"I think maybe you're overstating things just a bit."   Harrison laughed, leaning back against the conference table.
"Not at all.   The man practically dragged me back to the cave by my hair."
"Well, I'll have to agree with the cave part.   But if your reaction is anything to judge by, I'd say he'd have gotten you there without damaging your do."   (Harrison and Madison, page 47)

Harrison held up his hands and defense.   "Nothing.   I just call them the way I see them.   And you've got to admit that Roarke has your number.   He hit nine out of ten buttons and has reduced you to shrieking."   (Harrison, page 47)

"You were saying that the obvious ploy for a terrorist is to make a splash."
"And you, as usual, were disagreeing."   She hadn't meant to snap, but the man was trying, to say the least.
Harrison's lips quivered as he tried to contain a laugh.   (Gabe and Madison, page 93)
Madison's childhood caused her to be just as much a loner as Gabe.   First, free-spirited Alexis Harper, Madison's mother, left her husband and took her baby and traveled around the country.   Philip Merrick demanded custody of his school-aged daughter and then left her in the care of nannies, private schools, and boarding schools because his business was the most important thing in his life.   Madison's self-reliance became even more deep after she married then divorced Rick Wagner -- a man who wanted to live off her father's money.

The sparks that flew between Gabe and Madison were phenomenal.   Gabe was not looking forward to sharing the leadership role with Cullen's probably prima donna goddaughter.   When Gabe walked into the Dreamscape operations room and started issuing orders, Madison struggled to keep her calm-faced façade in place so Gabe wouldn't know that he was pushing her buttons.   Not to be outdone, Madison was constantly trying to read Gabe and take over control of each team meeting.   The book was peppered with entertaining one-up-man-ship thoughts and actions.

Madison constantly struggled with her attraction to Gabe -- the handsome very definition of alpha male.   After being burned by Rick, Madison was determined to never entertain the dream of having a supportive mate.   She particularly did not want a controlling man (like her father and godfather).   Gabe was just as talented at reading people as Madison and could see that Madison was as interested in him as he was in her.   Both being stubborn, self-sufficient, strong-willed people, they fought that attraction through half the book.   When Davis wrote the very sensual, sizzling emotional love scene with Madison still fighting to be in charge, she had romance readers everywhere melting when she closed the scene and the chapter with:
"And just like that, Gabriel Roarke fell in love."   (page 234)
Not only were Madison and Gabe having difficulties because each was trying to one-up the other when it came to the leadership role while they were fighting their attraction, they were also in conflict when it came to Cullen.   Because Gabe lost men when Cullen played "king of the hill" to free his employee from Iraq, he constantly saw Cullen as the greedy, "win at all costs" businessman who had no compassion for the little man.   Madison, on the other hand, saw Cullen as the godfather who stepped in and loved and cared for her because her father was too busy and her mother was too flighty.

Although Davis tried to humanize Cullen, by detailing Madison's thoughts about her godfather, she did a much better job of describing the attitude and mindset of Cullen Pulaski, the owner of Dreamscape, a Fortune 500 company, and the current acting Chairman of ABC, that made him come across as just the kind of greedy CEO that would do anything, use anyone, to further his goals, no matter the cost.
"Look, the reality is that Cullen Pulaski snaps his fingers and people jump to do his bidding, no matter the cost."   (Gabe, page 146)

"Cullen doesn't do anything unless there in something in it for him.   (Thomas McGee, page 318)
You have to wonder why Cullen choose Gabe to head up his murder investigation.   After all, he was a CIA operative, not a detective!   You also have to assume that Cullen would know that Gabe would have negative feelings towards his tendency to move people around his chessboard without their permission and, thus, would not be a welcome addition to his team.   So why did Cullen ask Gabe to head his team?   Davis leaves one to wonder if maybe Gabe is still considered the man to call when all else fails.   And then does Cullen demand that his goddaughter, the incredibly talented and skilled FBI Profiler, co-chair the team to keep Gabe in line?
"To keep me in line?"   He took a step toward her, but she held her ground.   "Honey, there's not a woman alive who can do that."   (Gabe, page 156)
Surprisingly, Madison's father, Philip Merrick, played a very minor role in the book.   Sure he appeared periodically during the story, but his presence was not as commanding as Cullen's.   Probably the most entertaining scene involving Philip was the morning after when Gabe answered Madison's phone.
He reached Madison's phone first, and answered it with a terse hello, only to immediately wish he had not picked it up at all.   Philip Merrick was on the other end, and from the baited silence he was currently enduring, none too happy to have his daughter's phone answered by a man.   (Gage, page 240)
Thanks to Nigel and his misdirections, the task force spent more time in the operations room, studying files and interviewing relatives of victims than in an actual action-packed search for the killer.   Endgame, therefore, felt a bit more like a police procedural than an adventurous romantic suspense novel.   Then there was the added suspense factor as Davis kept inserting Cullen (in point of view voice) in his office worried about his role in this entire endeavor and obviously hiding something.   As the team uncovered more and more details about the cause of death of each of the victims, Cullen began to look guilty.   The question then rose, if Cullen is guilty, why did he instigate an investigation?

Cullen was not the only member of the consortium overseeing the investigation.   Two other businessmen added even more depth and suspense to the search.   Madison knew these two longtime associates of her father, Kingston Sinclair, the head of Radion Enterprises, and Jeremy Bosner of Activitron Electronics.   Both men added to the suspect pool that the task force had to choose from.   The biggest problem facing the group was motive.   Why would any member of the consortium risk endangering a very lucrative business arrangement with the Chinese by killing off key players in the negotiations.

Davis included one really interesting minor supporting character into this story and made her so fascinating the you couldn't help but want to read more about her.   Gabe and Madison called upon Tracy Braxton, the head of Braxton Labs, one of the best forensics labs in the country, to help them determine whether the deaths of multiple members of ABC could actually be attributed to murder.

In conclusion, Endgame, the first book in The Last Chance Trilogy, turned out to be a very entertaining, suspenseful read.   It included: {1} The Hero, Gabriel Roarke, an ex-Delta Force, hunky, gorgeous, strong-willed, self-sufficient alpha male who struggled with his emotions of guilt, was strong enough to overcome a parentless childhood, and displayed moments of vulnerability.   It would take a very tough hero to partner such a strong heroine.   {2} The Heroine, Madison Harper, a phenomenal, extremely intelligent, intuitive, capable and attractive FBI profiler, who was constantly "reading" people.   She earned her way in life and did not use her connections to a rich and powerful father and godfather to climb the professional ladder.   {3} A marked degree of romance inhabited the story as the unwanted, but undeniable, attraction sparked between Gabe and Madison.   {4} The inclusion of sizzling, heated, passionate lovemaking scenes added plenty of sensuality to the story.   {5} The suspense, while not nail-bitingly intense, included lots of twists and turns as the task force tried to discover the motives and the identity of the killer, including plenty of intriguing rabbit trails to throw shadows on the investigation.   {6} Davis very cleverly writes her opinions about certain aspects of life by pouring the words out of the mouths of the characters.   She included viewpoints on {a} the perception of righteousness; {b} seeking parental approval; and {c} acceptance of things one cannot change.   {7} The inclusion of several well-developed, intriguing supporting characters added interest to the story: {a} Nigel Ferris, {b} Payton Reynolds, {c} Cullen Pulaski, and {d} Harrison Blake.   And, finally, {8} the addition of   lesser-developed supporting characters that added depth and realism to story: {a} Philip Merrick, {b} Kingston Sinclair, {c} Jeremy Bosner, and {d} Tracy Braxton.   Would quickly recommend this book to readers who enjoy a good procedural romantic suspense novel.
--Vonda M. Reid (Friday, February 27, 2015 : 4:23 a.m.)     [369]
February 27, 2015: This review still leaves something to be desired.   It is, basically, an edited version of the March 21, 2012 review.
March 21, 2012: I read Dee Davis's The Last Chance Trilogy four years ago.   Due to a poor memory, I could not recall many details that were contained in these books.   I decided to re-read this series because I could not remember anything about Harrison Blake and I was getting ready to read his book (Deadly Dance, Book 5 in The A-Tac Series).

Books In The Series: "The Last Chance Trilogy"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.03-2005EndgameGabriel "Gabe" Roarke: CIA OperativeMadison Harper: FBI Profiler
02.06-2005EnigmaPayton Reynolds: CIA OperativeSamantha "Sam" Waters: ATF Explosives Enforcement Officer
03.09-2005ExposureNigel Ferris: MI6 OperativeMelissa Pope: CIA Operative
3.512-2013EscapeTracy Braxton: Forensic PathologistSeth Forester: FBI Agent

Characters Found In "Endgame"
Character Description
Gabriel "Gabe" Roarke[Hero] crack CIA operative: (22) loner; "Gabe" (23) cynic; 14 years with CIA (24) operative skills unimpeachable; attitude is not (27) tumultuous style; not a share-command kind of guy (29) Delta Force (36) 5 years in Army, 3 with Delta Force; list of medals longer than arm; black ops (41) testosterone junkie; quick to put himself in harm's way; would command fierce loyalty among his friends (41) trouble with rules and superiors; smart enough to have turned the detriment into an asset; kept his own counsel; deep, bass voice; pale blue eyes; hard, chiseled face; black hair; rakish look; knew his effect on fairer sex (42) off-putting; kept the world at arm's length; totally self-contained; man of mystery (43) slow, amazingly sensual smile; loyal to a fault (44) black brows (46) 'he'd lost himself years ago, his identity eroding away '; 'what was left was an empty shell'; 'easier to bury himself in work, to hide from the past and the mistakes he'd made' (48) nothing casual about him; even relaxed, held himself under tight control (54) disarming smile (81) deep, smoky voice (84) didn't like being played (114) got off on adrenaline rushes; takes what wants; quick to land smack-dab in middle of danger; natural leader, but not comfortable with the role; loner; commands loyalty; didn't allow anyone to get close; came from troubled background, self-reliance only thing that got him through; thinks he had the whole world fooled (117) black hair, wiry and strong (118) had a problem with the chain of command (143) not exactly 'play by the rules' kind of guy (172) grew up as part of the system, foster care and juvenile homes (176) not the kind of man you could relegate to the back burner (177) one hundred percent man; very definition of alpha male (209) take no prisoners kind of man; calloused palms (228) had scars everywhere (239) headstrong; reckless (296) always gone full tilt for the things he wanted (336)
Madison Harper[Heroine] FBI criminal profiler (16) graciously accepting compliments had never been her strong suit (21) member of Investigative Support Unit (28) 7 years with Bureau; 5 with ISU (42) cracking personalities was her specialty (43) hated being dictated to more than anything, shades of a childhood spent with a business tycoon for a father (46) real beauty; long legs; tight ass; silky blond hair; California clean with a New York City edge; piercing gray eyes (47) silver laced with steel eyes; had a backbone (51) wore Chanel No. 5 (52) cool façade ran straight through to the core; wore hair in ponytail (66) wasn't one to back away from a challenge (70) nomadic life; raised by nannies, private schools, boarding schools (77) Vassar; married first man who asked; spent the better part of her adult years trying to establish a life separate from her father (78) magna cum laude from Vassar; attended Harvard law to please father; graduated with honors; joined FBI (86) always prided herself on her self control (94) same gray eyes as father (171) beautiful face (205) thought too much; over-analyzed everything (209) headstrong; reckless (296)
. . .. . .
Frederick Aston[No Appearance] died; member of consortium (57) close friend and confidant of Bingham (60) first of the six men to die (66) history of heart of problems (69) killed at home (72)
Robert Barnes[No Appearance] ABC member; part of team negotiating with China; killed when one of warehouses burned to ground (26) key player in negotiations with China (27) bulk of estate went to charity; couple of ex-wives; no children (67) served on the steering committee, went on to serve on consortium board; first chair of the active delegation meeting with the Chinese (125)
Detective Barton[One Appearance] NYPD; in the interrogation room along with Madison and Paul Jackson; skeptical; despite obvious disapproval, didn't interfere (17)
Harrison Blake[A-Tac Book 5 / Deadly Dance] Madison asked him to work on investigative team // hair sticking up every which way; epitome of boy next door; one of best forensic men in the country; Madison's friend; trained together in Quantico; left FBI for private sector (32) multi-tasking; typing, talking at same time; hazel eyes (33) saw computer as endless puzzle; almost obsessive fascination; could access almost any system; saw patterns in data others missed (34) worked for Phoenix (41) genius with a computer (43) "I just call them the way I see them" (47) quick to jump to Madison's defense (90) his keen eye seeing more than Madison wanted him to (92) Madison's best friend (97) ate like horse, never showed an ounce of it (123) low-profile; old-fashioned; charming; opened doors for women; really listened when they talked; sunny grin; Southern charisma that made him irresistible to opposite sex; totally oblivious to his effect on women (255) his ever-present laptop open in front of him (265)
Walter Blythe[One Appearance] told Madison she was being pulled from her current assignments to co-lead a task force being put together by Cullen Pulaski; director of FBI's Behavioral Science Unit; for all practical purposes, had written book on profiling (21)
Jeremy Bosner[Secondary Character] old friends with Madison's father; role of kindly uncle Madison's entire life; vice-chairman of consortium; should have taken charge at Bingham's death; passed over (54) Activitron Electronics (56) card-carrying member of America's industrial elite (56) tall to the point of seeming gaunt; looked more like befuddled professor than business tycoon (63) graying hair (64) barracuda (65) always had hidden agendas; soft spot for Madison (135) lived in brownstone on Sutton Place (187)
Tracy Braxton[Secondary Character] head of Braxton Labs; the best in the country (46) dark braided hair; high cheekbones; flawless ebony skin (70) looked more like Victoria's Secret model than a pathologist (71)
Chiao Chien[No Appearance] primary negotiator for Chinese delegation (135)
Edward Clinton[No Appearance] Bluemax founder; patented process for producing semiconductors that dramatically cut cost per unit; killed himself six months after leveraged buyout, lost court case (337)
Alicia Dashal[One Appearance] interviewed by Nigel and Payton // Jacob's wife (102) perfectly made-up face accentuated with a permanent smile, the effect of one too many plastic surgeries (103) too much money; too much time; not the sense God gave a goose; tottering on high heels meant for a much younger woman (104)
Jacob Dashal[No Appearance] ABC member; part of team negotiating with China; electrocuted (26) key player in negotiations with China (27) on original steering committee; coordinated efforts with Department of State (60) had family in Virginia (96) liked to work with wood (103) died four months ago (104) Robert Barnes's second in command (126)
Ed[One Appearance] handsome older man; new; concierge to Madison's apartment building (342)
Nigel Ferris[pov] [Secondary Character] [Book 3 / Exposure] Gabe asked him to work on investigative team // spent better part of his career taking risks no same human would even contemplate; afraid of airplanes (30) bond between him, Gabe and Payton forged in fire (35) Englishman; ever-vigilant; British to the core; breeding of an earl; morals of street urchin; one of MI6's best operatives (36) curly brown hair framed a wonderfully craggy face highlighted by a pencil-thin moustache and neatly shaved half beard; turtleneck sweater, tweed jacked, corduroy pants (54) lilting accent; from Gloucestershire (57) record was exemplary; a team player who'd made a career out of coming through in the most dire of circumstances; loyalty to friends was secondary to loyalty to country (79) interviewing widows was not his cup of tea, would prefer the Bolivian jungle (102) not a man to suffer fools lightly (103) brought up to despise people with too much money, too much time, and no sense (104) clearly preferring action to talk (128) smoker (140) consummate diplomat (147) not exactly 'play by the rules' kind of guy (172) bid of a prima donna at times (249)
Gibson [No Appearance] Patterson butler (138)
Alexis Harper[No Appearance] Madison's mother; original free spirit; five years after marriage, Alexis took her baby and traveled around the country (77) sprawling home in New Mexico (79) always fighting for some cause; comfortable relationship with Philip Merrick (173) a free spirit; remarried (215)
Harry[One Appearance] doorman to Madison's apartment building (34)
Paul Jackson[One Appearance] suspect in NYPD interrogation room; interrogated by Madison; white button down; khakis; bloodshot eyes (16) worked for local cable company; newly divorced; recently discharged from army; rap sheet: suspected rape, arson charges; cocky; confident; helpful (18)
Evan Jensen[One Appearance] Gabe Roarke's boss; notified Gabe that he was being pulled from his current assignment to co-lead a task force for Cullen Pulaski // forty-five; CIA's youngest deputy director; sheer presence (23) soft voice, tempered with steel (24)
Anderson "Andy" McGee[No Appearance] killed; lived in old home on 10 acres in Connecticut (268) an invalid of sorts, a semi-recluse, living on family money, having little to do with the outside world; self-taught expert in Chinese diplomacy; traveled often to Far East as younger man; reputation as a historian and scholar; had fronted negotiations when consortium began; had drafted and reviewed almost every document sent to Beijing; his knowledge of protocol was critical to the success of the endeavor; one shot to the head; his death similar to Jeremy's (269) diagnosed 5-y-a as paranoid schizophrenic (316)
Martha McGee[One Appearance] Andy McGee's mother; interviewed Gabe and Madison (316)
Thomas McGee[One Appearance] Andy McGee's father; interviewed Gabe and Madison (316)
Luther Macomb[No Appearance] died; member of consortium (57) on the original steering committee in negotiations with China (60) car wreck occurred in Albany (96) police records about death sketchy at best; raining that night, visibility poor, road conditions sucked, slid through guard railing, off embankment, car exploded on impact (109) died 2-y-a (110)
Belinda Markham[No Appearance] New Jersey hooker; Paul Jackson chief suspect for her rape (18)
Doc Ronald Martin[One Appearance] served as medical examiner when Alan Stewart died // part-timer from Oklahoma; house in Rio Grande estates; retired heart surgeon; lives just upriver from Stewarts (102) Ronald; tall; late sixties; outfitted in waders and fishing vest (106) voice held the command of his profession; bushy eyebrows; commanding (107)
Virginia Martin[No Appearance] Doc Martin's wife (107)
Philip Merrick[Secondary Character] Madison's father; controlled large chunk of American economy; political connections to rival president (33) business tycoon (46) card-carrying member of America's industrial elite (56) not a man easily dissuaded; always attached strings to Madison (78) lived in penthouse on Central Park West (79) Cullen Pulaski's best friend (86) same gray eyes as Madison (171) not the jealous type; liked to maintain control (172)
Bertrice Patterson [One Appearance] interviewed by Gabe and Nigel // Candace Patterson's mother; about sixty; white hair fashionable cut, arranged with precision of military assault; suit reeked of money; diamonds around neck, in ears real (137) low, husky voice of smoker (138) indiscreet in her youth (139)
Candace Patterson[No Appearance] victim of apparent mugging; tied to accord (121) supposed to take Smith's place in negotiations; neither on the steering committee nor the board (126) fluent in eight Chinese dialects; studied abroad; worked 2 years as missionary; worked for Lexco when returned to U.S., first heading up their Asian division, then moved to corporate, recently promoted to VP, became involved in accord when Lexco decided to get on board (127) member of moneyed elite of Westchester County (137) had always done exactly what she pleased; brilliant; did not ask Lex's permission to do anything (149)
Harold Patterson[No Appearance] Bertrice's husband; not Candace's natural father (139)
Cullen Pulaski[pov] [Secondary Character] put together a task force to investigate the deaths of numerous members of ABC // Madison's godfather; not the kind of man who needed anyone's help (21) card-carrying member of nouveau riche who ran the country; renowned mathematician with nose for business; scored big during tech revolution; top of the industrial elite; outgoing; a politician's politician; preferred pulling strings from a distance; for the most part, what he wanted, he got (23) eyes sharp with intelligence (24) now the acting Chairman of the ABC (26) card-carry member of America's industrial elite (56) commanded respect (62) Philip Merrick's best friend (86) not particularly compassionate (111) cared deeply for the people in his life, he just wasn't good at showing it (112) 'snaps his fingers and people jump to do his bidding, no matter the cost' (146) doesn't do anything unless there in something in it for him (318) a wunderkind; whiz at mathematics; natural for computer (321) made first million before 30 (322)
Payton Reynolds[Secondary Character] [Book 2 / Enigma] Gabe asked him to work on investigative team // scarred (37) bit of a wild card; works for himself; mercenary (44) no patience, unless hunting someone; tenacious; seven languages; knew more guerilla warfare than possibly any man alive; uncanny knack for thinking ahead of the game; seeing inside someone's head, guessing the direction of his thoughts; jagged line starting at his brow and cutting diagonally down to his chin (49) kept his own counsel; loner; army; Delta Force; never been the same since Iraq, almost a year in recovery, disappeared, going underground (50) dark hair spilling around a pale face bisected by a jagged scar; green eyes (55) deep, almost inaudible voice; air about him that made a person want to listen (58) retreated to a corner, protecting his space (66) provided voice of reason (69) served in Delta Force under Gabriel; Army career ended with stay in hospital and myriad of awards (79) walking wounded, hid it well, but it was reflected in his eyes; went underground after hospital stay; sold himself to the highest bidder (80) morphed into his role with the ease of chameleon (103) self-contained without Gabe's self confidence; forced himself to keep the world at bay; despite the scar, he was the kind of man who could easily slip into the background; stealth was his commodity, but it had taken its toll; too many hours on his own, pretending to be something he wasn't showed in the lines of his face and the hollows under his eyes; dancing with darkness had a price that he had paid more than once; his smile made his craggy face suddenly handsome; had no problem with the chain of command (143) served in Delta Force under Gabe for 2 years (145) not exactly 'play by the rules' kind of guy (172) a top operative for the CIA (288) green eyes (326)
Lex Rymon[No Appearance] Candace's natural father (139) founded Lexco; not the sentimental type (140) run his company with iron fist for 50 years; big man; rough around the edges; wore a Canali suit; firm handshakes; calluses beneath hundred-dollar manicure; might be a billionaire, but he had blue-collar in his pedigree somewhere (147)
Ernhardt Wilhelm Schmidt[No Appearance] name of shooter that Harrison Blake tied to the name W. Smith // suspected bombings; crack shot; blond hair; blue eyes; aquiline nose of a German; hard features; his sheet a mile long; cruel twist of the lips; hard edges to smile; total lack of emotion in the eyes; man who'd ceased feeling anything a long time ago; something inside him programmed differently from others; a man without remorse or regret, driven by his own needs, interested in getting paid more than the pleasure of the kill (256) been on a watch list since early '80s; been tracked to the U.S. 15 times, spending most of his time at various places on the East Coast; keeps a low profile; generally uses an alias; has been linked to several plots against various political personalities; speculation that he may have taken part in U.S. sanctioned operations abroad; bulk of his activity has taken place in Europe (265) Interpol has him on a watch list; suspected involvement in 2 assassination attempts (266) a shadow, a lot threat, but worth watching (267)
Kingston Sinclair[Secondary Character] longtime associate of Madison's father; unbending tenacity in business (53) ex-marine attitude showed in work and physique; in top physical form; strength due to years of routine, rather than vanity; drank whiskey, straight (54) head of Radion Enterprises (55) card-carrying member of America's industrial elite (56) notorious for holding thoughts close to the vest (57) fiddled with earpiece of his glasses to buy time (64) barracuda (65) older than Philip Merrick by 10 years; part of Madison's life as long as she could remember (178)
Bingham "Bing" Smith[One Appearance] killed; pragmatic (13) Cullen Pulanski's friend (25) killed while on way to meet Chinese delegation; made Cullen look like chump change, notorious for leveraging takeovers of even the most unavailable companies; ABC member; headed team in trade deal with China; chairman of ABC (26) in excellent shape; worked out 3 times a week (58) worked in China for years; contacts crucial in establishing the foundation (6o)
Tiffany Smith[No Appearance] Bingham's fourth wife; not very bright; gold digger (59)
W. Smith[No Appearance] name of the man Harrison tied the computer sabotage to (154)
Alan Stewart[No Appearance] died; member of consortium (57) on the original steering committee in negotiations with China (60) fell, hit his head, landed in the bathtub; happened in remote part of Colorado, way up in the mountains (67) died in a remote mountain town in Colorado (96) a good man; gave a lot to the community; a part-time resident of Creede; when not in Creede, Colorado, made home in Austin, Texas; his body returned to Texas for burial (101) died almost two years ago (107)
Rick Wagner[No Appearance] nothing but a prick in gentlemen's clothing; married Madison for her father's money; "couldn't understand her need for autonomy . . . started a one-man campaign to undermine her confidence" (78) had taken Madison to cleaners, financially, emotionally; charm; good looks (134)
Loren Waxman[One Appearance] met with Madison // FBI regional direction in New York; short by FBI standards; nearing 60; moved with a grace that belied his age; gray hair; dark eyes sparkled with intelligence (259)
Connie Weston[No Appearance] Madison trying to find her murderer (17) vivacious fifth grader; disappeared on walk to corner grocery; found in abandoned warehouse 5 days later; raped, sodomized, beaten by pipe (17) 11-y-o (18)
Patrick Weston[One Appearance] met with Gabe and Madison when they came to town to investigate Alan Stewart's death // sheriff of Creede; eyes crinkled at the corners, from a lifetime spent laughing; big man; 40 to 45; career lawman; rugged look of outdoorsman (100) good man; don't rock the boat kind of guy (108)
Smith Williams[No Appearance] that name that Ernhardt Wilhelm Schmidt used to enter the country a couple of months ago on a business trip; hailed from London; worked for company called Houghton Limited (273)
Lin Yao[No Appearance] one of Payton's contacts // against accord going forward (144)

Locations, Organizations Found In "Endgame"
Location / Organization Description
New York CityBook Setting // where Cullen Pulaski's corporate headquarters were located (37)
ABCAmerican Business Consortium: formed in wake of 9/11; attempt at communication and cooperation among leading industrial bigwigs; provides a communication base and a set of standard operating procedures, should something or someone try to bring down American commerce (24) allows for increased leverage in the international market (25) working on a trade deal with China for almost 3 years; 50 member companies, headed by an 11-member board; Cullen now the acting Chairman (26)
Activitron ElectronicsJeremy Bosner's company (56)
AlamosaGabe and Madison had flown here on their way to Creede, Colorado (99)
Albanywhere Luther Macomb died in a car wreck (96)
Austin, TexasAlan Stewart made his home in Austin, Texas; his body returned to Texas for burial (101)
Battery Park Citylocation of hotel that Smith Williams checked into (273)
Behavioral Science UnitFBI; Walter Blythe was the director (21)
BeijingBingham Smith dealt with them (60) Payton had contacts in Beijing (95)
Blue Roomcatered to locals in Panama City; where Gabe meeting with Nigel (35)
Bluemaxcompany that brought suit against Vrycom (321) founded by Edward Clinton (337)
Braxton Labsowned by Tracy Braxton; building originally a meat-packing plant; state-of-the-art equipment; cutting-edge personnel; top private forensics labs in country (70)
Central Park Westwhere Philip Merrick had a penthouse (79)
Charlottesvillecity where W. Smith rented a box at Mail Smart; a college town (154)
Creede, Coloradotown Gabe and Madison went to in their efforts to investigate Alan Stewart's death; situated on a horseshoe bend in the highway, there wasn't much more than the main street, but the way that street settled into a majestic crag in the mountains went a long way toward explaining why summer homes had sprung up all along the valley (99) not the most hospitable of places in the dead of winter; without the draw of ski runs, most of the population clears out at the end of October; Alan Stewart a part-time resident (101)
Coloradowhere Alan Stewart died in a small, remote mountain town (96)
Connecticutwhere Anderson McGee lived (268)
Daily Newssplashed Candace Patterson's face across the front page (135)
Del NortePatrick Weston had been attending conference here when Alan Stewart died (101)
DreamscapeCullen Pulaski's company; permanent fixture on Fortune 500 (23)
Florida Keys Dinerseedy; decrepit; decorated with gator heads, formica and table jukeboxes in various stages of disrepair; and off fusion of swamp rat and Buddy Holly; where Gabe met his director (22)
GeorgetownVirginia; town in which Alicia and Jacob Dashal lived (103)
Houghton Limitedcompany that Smith Williams claimed to work for; doesn't exist, except on paper (273)
Investigative Support Unitteam of which Madison was a member (28)
La Pazflight attendant on plane Nigel was on was from La Paz (30)
Lands Endname of Martins' luxurious retreat (106)
Last Chance, Inc.black ops group known as Logistical Command; called in when all else fails; used to call themselves Last Chance, Inc.; Gabe in command (133)
Lexcocompany that Lex Rymon founded; Candace Patterson worked for company (127) had corporate headquarters in three countries, but their chief financial operations remained in New York (147)
Logistical Commandblack ops group called in when all else fails; used to call themselves Last Chance, Inc.; Gabe in command (133)
Manhattanwhere Cullen Pulaski's offices were located (40) where Madison had an apartment (77)
Mariott barwhere Harrison and Madison were talking after computer system erased (92)
Molly Malonesas close to a British pub as one was likely to find this side of the pond; where Gabe, Payton and Nigel were drinking (182)
New Mexicowhere Alexis Harper lived in a sprawling home (79)
Nino'sMadison's favorite Italian restaurant, on First Avenue (171)
Oklahomawhere Doc Ronald Martin was from (102)
Panama Cityperpetually full of tourists; city where Gabe met with Nigel and Payton (35)
Phoenixa Texas company that specialized in computer forensics (41)
Radion EnterprisesKingston Sinclair's company (55)
Rio Grandeprime fishing water (99)
Rio Grande Estatesnear Creede, Colorado; where Doc Martin had a home (102)
Saudia ArabiaNigel had been on a mission in Saudia Arabia when he met Gabe (31)
Sutton Placewhere Jeremy's brownstone was located (187)
Virginiawhere Jacob Dashal had family (96)
Vrycomacquisitions company in the 80s; existed only on paper; sole purpose was leveraged buyouts (320)
Westchester Countywhere the moneyed elite lived, including Candace Patterson's family (137)

"Endgame" Quotations
47"Was it my imagination or did he have a bit of a God complex?"
"I think maybe you're overstating things just a bit."   Harrison laughed, leaning back against the conference table.
"Not at all.   The man practically dragged me back to the cave by my hair."
"Well, I'll have to agree with the cave part.   But if your reaction is anything to judge by, I'd say he'd have gotten you there without damaging your do."   (Harrison and Madison)
47you've got to admit that Roarke has your number.   He hit nine out of ten buttons and has reduced you to shrieking."   (Harrison)
51"Just stating her name sent electricity coursing through him -- the woman had definitely made an impression . . ."   (Gabe)
94"righteousness is in the eye of the beholder."   (Gabe)
134"Some things children had to learn for themselves.   No matter the consequences."   (Cullen)
146"What seems reasonable from one point of view often seems less so when viewed from the opponent's side."   (Payton)
156"To keep me in line?"   He took a step toward her, but she held her ground.   "Honey, there's not a woman alive who can do that."   (Gabe)
175"The most important person you have to please in life is yourself.   And if your father can't live with the choices you make, then so be it.   You can't spend your life trying to gain his approval -- or trying to shock him into paying attention.   Either way you lose, because you're not living for yourself.   You're living for him."   (Gabe)
183"Gabe could no more explain his anger than he could explain his attraction for the woman, but at the moment both were undeniable."   (Gabe)
209"the one thing she was certain of in this life was the fact that you had to stay strong, no matter the obstacles."   (Madison)
210"Something about her called to him in a way he couldn't explain."   (Gabe)
216"Maybe if she'd spent more time accepting what she did have rather than trying to change what she couldn't . . ."   (Madison)
216"Everyone makes their own hell."   (Gabe)
216"There are people who can't escape.   Who only compound the problem, making it worse."   . . .   "And there are others who wallow in it.   Taking pleasure from their own pain.   So, yes, I guess I think the winners are the ones who find a way out."   (Madison)
217"There is always hope."   . . .   "I really do believe that.   I think sometimes you have to search for it.   And that it doesn't always present itself in the way you'd like.   But I do believe that it's always there."   (Madison)
222"Guilt was an insidious thing, whittling its way deep inside you twisting around your gut until it was almost inextricable."   (Gabe)
227"It's almost as if you're alone in a room full of people."   (Gabe)
250He followed after her, knowing full well that three pairs of eyes were still locked on them.   Eyes that were trained to see even the smallest detail.   To find truth in lies, and reality buried beneath subterfuge.
In short, he was toast.   (Gabe)
286"Madison marveled at the fact that these men could have any relationship at all."   (Madison)

"Dee Davis -- Endgame" Review and Information Links
Rated Posted Site Notes, Comments, Etc.
----Dee Davis's WebsiteAuthor
----Dee Davis's FacebookAuthor
----Dee Davis's TwitterAuthor
. . . . . . . . .. . .
----Fantastic FictionList of Dee Davis's Books
----Fict FactList of Books In The Last Chance Series
----Fiction DBList of Dee Davis's Books
. . . . . . . . .. . .
4.26 average{107 ratings}Amazonas of: February 27, 2015
4.50 average{3 ratings}Barnes & Nobleas of: February 27, 2015
5.0003-xx-2005Fallen Angel Reviews--Jaymi // too pat, question validity
--05-16-2005Fresh Fiction--Morgan Chilson // brief synopsis and review
3.86 average{442 ratings}Good Readsas of: February 27, 2015
3.65 average{11 ratings}Library Thingas of: February 27, 2015
----Open Library
3.60 average{78 ratings}Paperback Swapas of: February 27, 2014
4.0007-09-2014Redhead Reading Addict--Morgan Dungan // {category ratings, simple review, nice quotes}{gr11}
4.5 / Top Pick--RT (Romantic Times) Books Reviews--Jill M. Smith // PR review
3.67 average{3 reviews}Shelfarias of: February 27, 2015
4.3502-27-2015Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

Notes:
♥   Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥   Very Subjective Rating

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Christina Dodd -- Once A Knight

Christina Dodd -- Once A Knight

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.40}
Action: ♠♠♠.♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥♥.♥ / Sensuous: ♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠.♠
Action: 3.5 / Emotion: 5.0 / Romance: 4.5 / Sensuous: 1.0 / Suspense: 3.5  //  Historical Flavor: 4.7 // Laughter: 12 / Giggle: 2  //  Tears: 3 / Teary: 0

Setting:       Northumbria, England   (George's Cross Castle)   (Radcliffe Castle)
Era:             1252
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
I love Medieval Romance books.   However, it is obvious that publishers and authors have drifted away from this time period, so it was necessary to grab what is considered on older book to find such a novel.   Once A Knight, Christina Dodd's first book in The Good Knights Duet, turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining book that takes readers back in time.

It took a bit of time to get deeply immersed into this story because, unlike today's books, Dodd took readers on a slow, but steady path towards plotting developments and character introductions.   Walking that path with Dodd was well worth the journey.   This book was not full of fluffy, simplistic characters whose personalities were splashed lavishly across the pages, but rather Dodd wrote about complex people whose layers were peeled away so they could worm their way into the cockles of your heart.

Dodd employed a unique voice to open the book.   Introduced later in the story, the eleven-year-old precocious, spunky, endearing page named Eudo began telling readers about events that had been taking place at the castle, the village, and the demesne owned and regulated by it's very exacting and proper mistress, Alisoun, the countess of George's Cross.   Through Eudo's narrative, Dodd began introducing and fleshing out several of the main characters that walked though this book by explaining that there was something very wrong going on at George's Cross.   But little Eudo (and thus, readers) have no idea exactly what that something is.   But it is obvious that danger lurks in the shadows and Alisoun is being targeted.

Because of the way Sir Walter was introduced, it was impossible not to wonder if maybe he was part of the problem.   When Lady Edlyn had been abducted while the people of George's Cross were out of the gates at a picnic near the woods, his response revealed his lack of respect for his chatelaine.
He didn't rise from his seat to ask the question, or act in any way concerned, and I again realized how much I disliked him.   For all his superior airs, he was nothing but a knight, elevated by Lady Alisoun to the role of her steward.   He was supposed to secure her estates, but today he could scarcely unwrapp himself from his woman long enough to show respect.

Looking around I saw the same dislike mirrored on everyone's face.   (Eudo, page 3)
Alisoun was introduced through the adoring eyes of Eudo, but the picture he painted of Alisoun was very revealing.
We held our breath, waiting for Lady Alisoun's reprimand.   She might be the epitome of a lady, but she could reduce a grown man to tears with a few well-chosen words.   (Eudo, page 4)

Such impetuous behavior surprised me.   Lady Alisoun gave me a sense of safety and stability, but I would never, never have spontaneously sought comfort from her.   Indeed, Lady Alisoun staggered back under the weight, then carefully, as if she weren't sure of herself, she wrapped Lady Edlyn in her arms.   Lady Edlyn kept burrowing closer, as if she needed to rest in Alisoun's heart to once again feel secure.   (Eudo, page 11)
Dodd's sense of humor also began to show through the story when Alisoun revealed that while she may have portrayed a sense of serenity and calmness, she was not above acting like a normal, irritated human being.
"When I need your advice on the noble girls I foster, Sir Walter, I will certainly ask for it."   She released a branch too soon, and it slapped him in the face.
"Good shot, my lady," I mumbled, but she pretended not to hear.   (Eudo, page 7)
Although Eudo didn't understand the information being delivered by the words that he was overhearing, Dodd revealed to readers that Alisoun knew very well who was targeting her and George's Cross as she talked with her new ladies maid, Philippa.
Lady Alisoun said, "I've got to do it, Philippa."
And Philippa whispered, "I brought this misfortune on you."
"Don't you dare apologize!"   Obviously Lady Alisoun's voice came out louder than she wanted.   She glanced frantically at Sir Walter, who strained to hear, then lowered her voice.   "It's not you, it's him.   I've never let a man frightened me, and I'm not going to start now.   I made a vow to protect you.   Now I'm going to keep it.   I'm going to Lancaster.   I'm going to hire the legendary Sir David of Radcliffe."   (Eudo, page 15)
Sir David of Radcliffe was a very original hero.   He was not portrayed as the ultra handsome, incredibly roguish, suave and debonair, ultimate fighting machine that authors usually draw from the standard pool of heros found in most of today's novels.   David was past his prime, had gray at his temples and on the morning that Alisoun found him he was laying hungover in an alehouse after drinking away his sorrows at losing his title as the King's Champion the day before.
he was the legendary mercenary.   He even looked the part.   His rangy form and grace proclaimed his strength.   The threads of gray in his dark hair proclaimed his experience.   Hard heavy brows lent a severity to his expression, and his eyes had seen much.   Yet his mouth saved him from the ruthlessness of most mercenaries.   He grinned, he grimaced, he pursed his lips in avarice.   Every thought that crossed his mind, he expressed with his mouth, and without saying a word.   (Alisoun, page 26)
Even though David was described as past his prime, Dodd failed to reveal his age, so it was impossible to know exactly how old David was.   Since back in the medieval era, boys were considered men at the young age of eighteen and lived a hard life fighting for their king and to exist, so you couldn't help but wonder -- when exactly did they wear out?   And to wonder exactly how old David was.

David, however, was a wonderful hero.   The one thing that stood out the most about David, as Dodd pealed back the layers to reveal his willingness to acknowledge who he was, to accept that he had faults as well as strengths, was his ability to look at the bright side of life in spite of all the hard knocks dealt out to him.   And, boy, were the hard knocks plentiful.   After his parents sent David out into the world with just a sword and shield, he proved his worth by winning tournaments, becoming the King's Champion, and being given a wife with lands so he had his own place.   While it would have been nice if Dodd had painted a picture of David's past, she choose instead to reveal how David dealt with the blows perpetuated upon him.

So even though David was given a wife with lands, the wife sounded like everything that a man despised.
Not even the prospect of another baby to cherish could overcome David's distaste for bedding a woman who increasingly looked like a molting duck and smelled like its favorite grub.   (David's description of his wife, page 50)
The reason David accepted Alisoun's offer of a job to protect her was because of the cold, hard coin she presented in exchange for his services.   David was desperate because his daughter and his people were starving after two years of famine.   And then when David arrived at George's Cross and saw the prosperity and wealth, he realized he was in a perfect position to court and win Alisoun as his wife, promoting him from starvation and obscurity into a life of privilege.   David recognized that he was not the perfect candidate as a husband to the opinionated countess of George's Cross, but he knew that he was a tactical genius and could turn this event to his benefit.
other, greater nobles had tried to keep him in his place.   Other, greater circumstances had oppressed him, and he had merged tough, resilient, superior.   His difficult life had taught him much and given him the advantage over this well-bred lady.   He had only to remember that.   (David, page 100)
Thus is was that David began to play close attention to Alisoun, the person, to see if he could figure out what was behind her emotionless face, her tendency to organize everyone and everything, and her sense of duty.   Just like David, readers had to pay close attention to realize that underneath her stern, unrelenting exterior, Alisoun was full of emotions.   But because she had been trained since childhood to repress those emotions, it was difficult for her to express them.

The way Dodd developed this heroine's personality was so original.   After reading quite a few Contemporary Romances lately that feature heroines who have hidden their emotions behind facades that are recognized in today's society (sarcasm, smart-remarks, 'I don't care' attitudes, ice cold personas, and an unwillingness to open their hearts to the hero chasing after them), it was interesting that Dodd came up with an original way to present just such a heroine (with suppressed emotions due to her upbringing), that she came across as cold and unfeeling -- and dealt with it in the manner that was allowable back in England in 1252.   Today's woman could have became a cold, unfeeling, calculating CEO, attorney, or assassin, to step on the people who got in her way, but Lady Alisoun hid her hurts behind a mask of cold responsibility -- the only acceptable role allowed to a medieval woman.

Dodd did such a fantastic job of developing the layers of Lady Alisoun's personality that if you looked closer, just as David did, Lady Alisoun was consumed with emotions . . . but she had so successfully learned how to suppress those emotions that nobody could even tell she had them.   Alisoun fought back against the men ruling her world in the only way she knew how -- with a superior intellect, a sharp tongue (even though every word that issued from her mouth came out in the most even of tones), and a judicious use of her wealth.

After reading several reviews online in which the reviewers labeled Alisoun as having no emotions, it became abundantly clear that too many readers have been reading too many simplistic books -- and consider them to be great reads.   It was truly surprising to see how many romance readers seemed to have no depth of understanding as they read (then reviewed) this book.   It could be because they have been reading too many of the current batch of self-published novels (and the like) that have been delivering story after endless story filled with under-developed characters who just want to hook up and have sex.   Maybe they don't understand that a gifted writer reveals the hidden depths of her characters in a circuitous manner, slowly developing the relationship between the protagonists -- instead of introducing them and hooking them up after seventeen pages of innuendo.

Didn't these reviewers read the details about the cat?   Dodd didn't spell it out for us in black and white.   She didn't write something like: "When Alisoun learned how her cat had been killed, her heart splintered into pieces.   She cried for a week!"   Rather, Dodd, in subtle nuances, revealed the depth of Alisoun's anguish regarding her feelings about the way the cold, cruel, villain had abused her cat.

David (who didn't know how the previous cat had perished) thought it would be a romantic gesture to replace the cat that Alisoun had lost by giving her a cute little kitten.
A blinking black kitten lifted its head and looked around.
Alisoun jump back."
It's only a kitten," he said.
"I can see that," she answered irritably.
"You're acting as if it were a wolf, prepared to eat you."   Gathering up the tiny creature, he scratched it under the chin, then waved it in her face.   "Isn't it cute?"
She flinched. "What are you doing with it?"
"Giving it to you.   Eudo said your cat had been killed, and --"
"Oh, nay."   She waved her hands.   "I don't want another cat."
Placing the creature on the tabletop, he said.   "I thought you liked cats."
"I do."   She watched as the little thing scampered over to the edge and looked down.   "In their proper place."
. . .
She stared as the kitten sauntered toward one of the lit candles, then realized that David, too sauntered -- but he was heading out the door.   "Wait!   You take it."   Then, belatedly, "where are you going?"
"To train your squires."   He stuck his head back in.   "May I depend upon your messenger to again take the gold to Radcliffe?"
"In sooth, but the cat --"   (David and Alisoun, pages 145-146)
This scene (and the other scenes featuring Alisoun and that cute little kitten throughout the rest of the book) was so well written that it just screamed out how deeply the death of her cat had impacted Alisoun.   Alisoun did not show it, but it was obvious to anyone who was paying attention that Alisoun was afraid of the pain to herself and this kitten should the villain learn that Alisoun had grown to love that kitten.

While David was charming the common folk, spending time with Eudo, and cuddling Philippa's baby, Hazel, he noticed that Alisoun had no clue when it came to touching people and offering them warmth.   It was so easy to recognize that Alisoun had no idea how to touch and interact with children and babies because she had not been offered the same warmth and attention during her own childhood.   Philippa, at one point, suggested to Alisoun that she was acting like their foster mother.
"But once a person starts to slide down the winding road of sloth, she'll find it hard to claw her way back to the straight and narrow way."
"Do you have to quote Lady Frances to me always?" Philippa complained.
"She was the lady who fostered us!"
"She was a mean old woman who sucked the joy from life."
"I didn't know you felt that way.   I am shocked."
Philippa flung her little pile of weeds at Alisoun, scattering them across the herbs.   "Nay, you're not.   You always thought that, too.   You just never dared to admit it."   (Alisoun and Philippa, page 159)
Although it made no sense (having no understanding of medieval culture and of a medieval woman's mindset), when Walter, in his effort to embarrass David for supplanting him in his role of protector, revealed to Alisoun and the villagers that the legend of Sir David of Radcliffe was no more, Alisoun reviewed her options when it came to making her people feel safe once again and made her way to David's bed.   It worked because David took advantage of the situation, in his efforts to convince Alisoun that she should make him her husband, and threw the bloodied bedsheet out the window.

Because of the year in which this book was written (1996) it was not surprising that Dodd did not regale readers with a lot of sensuality, heat and passion in the lovemaking scenes.   In fact, most of the time readers only knew that David and Alisoun were continuing to share a bed was because they were told so as the story progressed.   And, quite often, it was because David was frustrated at having to do all the work to bring Alisoun to a point of passion and loss of control.

That was not the only thing that frustrated David.   Because Alisoun was so determined to be in control of every aspect of her life, she was not only unwilling to marry David, but she refused to tell him the name of the man who was endangering her and her people.   Even when it became obvious that the villain had discovered the secret that Alisoun had been perpetuating and David used the knowledge of that same secret to force Alisoun into marriage and to take Alisoun and many of her household members with him to Radcliffe, Alisoun still refused to tell David the name of the villain.

David is more than happy to be home with his beloved daughter, who wants to be a mercenary like her father and is the epitome of a wild child.   Naturally, there is the war between the daughter and the new wife and words are spoken that cause Alisoun to reveal her own insecurities by telling David that he would no longer be sleeping in her chamber.

Yes, Alisoun was difficult to warm up to, but because of the nuances Dodd inserted about her personality as the story progressed, it was easy to overlook her sternness, her lack of humor and her tendency to run everyone and everything because, as a romance reader, it was safe to assume that eventually David would break through Alisoun's barriers and teach her to laugh and relax.   But the way that Alisoun reacted to David's actions during the big climax at the end of the book when the villain showed up at Radcliffe immediately after David figured out what Alisoun had been hiding from him, made Alisoun lose big points in the acceptance category.

If Alisoun had only been forthcoming, David might have been able to prepare himself for the confrontation.   But because David chose the safety of his child, his people, and the security of his lands, Alisoun was livid.   And stomped off with a really expressive display of emotion.

And, yes, in the end, David got to redeem himself and prove that wisdom and cunning were greater strengths than youth and a strong sword arm.   Alison and David reunited and returned to Radcliffe, but David had yet to bring Alisoun to gales of laughter.   Rather than give die hard romance readers an Epilogue featuring Alisoun actually laughing out loud with her husband and children, sadly, Dodd ended the book with a closing entry from Eudo similar to the opening salvo.

There were several memorable secondary characters included in this book.   Eudo, was particularly endearing and the inclusion of his thoughts intermittently interjected throughout the book were enjoyable and added a unique flavor to the story.   There were some truly priceless scenes featuring Eudo as he developed a relationship with David.   Dodd, quite often, revealed a quick-witted sense of humor that brought forth laughter.
"He's the meanest piece of horseflesh you'll ever have the misfortune to meet.   "David opened the gate, then led the horse toward the door.   "But he thinks he owns you now, and he protects those he owns."

Eudo hopped down and followed, staying well back from Louis's hooves.   "Even bastard boys?"

David and Louis eyed each other with understanding, then David said, "Especially bastard boys.   Do you think Louis's parents were wed?"   (David and Eudo, page 154)
Another engaging and entertaining secondary character was David's daughter, seven-year-old, Bertrade "Bert" of Radcliffe.   The love between father and daughter was beautiful to behold.   The sparks between Bert and Alisoun were expected.   The scene between David, Eudo, Bert and Alison in the training field when David was trying to help Alisoun build a relationship with Bert was hilarious.

Sir Walter was featured regularly throughout the story and it was soon revealed that he was one of the good guys.   And while he quite often came across as irritating and pompous and above his station, there was one line that stood out that explained why he was perceived as the bad guy.
"You're the lady.   You make judgments and I dispense the justice and direct the punishments.   You pay me to be the one the peasants hate."   (Sir Walter, page 73)
For some reason, the two ladies that could quite often be found conversing with Alisoun were the least developed and described primary secondary characters featured in the book.   Alisoun was fostering fifteen year old Lady Edlyn and there were many interactions between these two characters, but for some reason Edlyn didn't feel real.   First, Lady Edlyn was given no physical descriptors.   Dodd subtly developed Edlyn's personality from that of a starry-eyed young girl with a crush on the handsome young squire in training, Hugh de Florisoun, to a girl who accepted her role in life to be married off to an old duke because her family had six daughters and no money.   Nevertheless Edlyn had no real "presence" in the book.

Philippa was another important member of the cast who seemed to melt into the background most of the time, even though it was obvious that Philippa was the reason that Alisoun and George's Cross was in danger.   Again, Dodd gave Philippa no physical description so it was difficult to "imagine" her as she talked and visited with Alisoun and David.   Philippa showed she had strength of character at the end of the book, but Dodd never, truly revealed the woman that Philippa was.

One secondary character that stood out in bold detail even though he was rarely on the pages of this book was Osbern, duke of Framlingford.   It wasn't until much later in the book that Dodd revealed why she introduced Osbern into the story while Alisoun was sitting in the king's chamber at Lancaster.   Maybe I'm slow-witted, but I didn't put the pieces together about why there was so much animosity between Alisoun and Osbern as they traded barbs in Lancaster.   This obviously mean-spirited, full of himself, cousin of the king, was shown in all his splendor, strength and beauty.   But because of the way that Dodd included this character into the story, she revealed that he was cruelty incarnate.

King Louis, David's white stallion was also included as a member of the cast.   Dodd wrote numerous entertaining scenes featuring David and his interactions with Louis, who seemed to understand exactly what David was saying to him.   Animal lovers will certainly appreciate the inclusion of Louis into the story.

Several other secondary characters were included in the story and while they weren't given a lot of page time and were woefully undeveloped, they added greatly to the interest and development of the story.   Those characters were {1} Ivo and {2} Gunnewatte, two of Alisoun's men-at-arms, who set themselves up as her personal guards, and {3} Sir Guy of Archers, David's best friend and comrade.

Dodd did a phenomenal job of giving the book a strong historical flavor.   She included plenty of details that highlighted the everyday activities that took place in the lives of aristocrats and villagers in 1252 England.   She detailed the obstacles that women faced as they had to deal with the fact that they were, basically, chattel to their fathers and husbands.

About the cover: I have the 1996 publication that features an original cover.   I miss these attractive, artistically designed, old-fashioned covers that used to grace the front of Historical Romance Novels.   The beautiful, ornate medieval-looking "O" in "Once" announced that the story inside was going to be historical.   The yellow rose against an old parchment background adds that sense of old romance.   And the attractive knight on his white stallion (on the insert page behind the cover) also adds a nice touch to the cover setting.   This cover is so much more appealing than the new cover featuring a close-up of the harsh-looking face of an emotionless man with a sword slashing the bottom right-hand corner (implying he posed with sword in hand).   And while it is understandable that the newest batch of romance readers may not pick up a book that has this "dated" cover, it is still preferable to the "new" one.   (By the way, why do publishers change the covers of books?)

In closing, Once A Knight, the second book of The Good Knights Duet, was a nice, entertaining, well-written Medieval Romance.   The book featured: {1} Sir David of Radcliffe, an unusual hero that was a delight to encounter with his strong sense of self, his ability to bring joy to others, and his sense of honor; {2} Alisoun, the countess of George's Cross, an unusual heroine, who ruled with precision, displayed no outwardly emotions, but underneath her cold shell, was a heart that longed for love; {3} some action scenes to give the story some excitement; {4} an undercurrent of suspense as David tried to figure out who was endangering Alisoun and her villagers; {5} a sense of romance as David did his best to penetrate the barriers around Alisoun's heart; {6} very little sensuality and heat involved in the old-fashioned love scenes; {7} a strong historical favor permeated the story; and {8} interesting, intriguing secondary characters added a richness to the book: {a} Eudo, the page; {b} Sir Walter, the steward; {c} Lady Edyln, the foster daughter; {d} Philippa, the ladies maid; {e} Hugh de Florisoun, a squire training for knighthood; {f} Ivo, a man-at-arms; {g} Gunnewatte, a man-at-arms; {h} Sir Guy of Archers, David's comrade; {i} Bertrade "Bert" of Radcliffe, David's daughter; and {j} Osbern, duke of Framlingford, the king's cousin.   Romance readers who enjoy a good, deep, subtle Medieval Romance will definitely enjoy this book.
--Vonda M. Reid (Tuesday, February 24, 2015 : 3:29 a.m.)     [368]

Books In The Series: "The Good Knights Duet"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.02-1996Once A KnightSir David of Radcliffe: legendary: king's championAlisoun, countess of George's Cross
02.04-1996A Knight To RememberHugh de Florisoun: renowned warriorLady Edlyn: skilled herbalist in convent

Characters Found In "Once A Knight"
Character Description
Sir David of Radcliffe[Hero] legendary (15) the king's own champion (17) held 15 knights at bay while the king remounted and escaped (17) suspicious by nature (20) rangy form and grace proclaimed his strength; threads of gray in his dark hair proclaimed his experience; hard heavy brows lent a severity to his expression, and his eyes had seen much; his mouth saved him from the ruthlessness of most mercenaries; he grinned; he grimaced; he pursed his lips in avarice; every thought that crossed his mind, he expressed with his mouth, without saying a word (26) inherited nothing from his parents but an old shield and sword and an order to go out and make his way in the world; wife brought him lands through the marriage settlement (38) curious; confident (39) had a prestige about him (59) son of a poor baron (60) an ability to read a situation and assess it immediately (69) brown eyes, the color of old oak; brown hair so dark that the strands of gray gleamed like pewter; a tan face that had witnessed too many battles, too much hunger, too little kindness (71) scar snaked out of his scalp and down his back; the lobe of one ear was missing; did not brag about his triumphs (88) lost the little finger on his left hand; wiry muscles across his shoulders lifted the skin in impressive ripples; the veins on the back of his big hands rose in massive blue lines; variety of weapons had gnashed lines of flesh from his upper chest, leaving a gnarled pattern of black hair and white scars traced over his impressive pectorals (89) calluses deformed his toes; purple scarring rippled the scan from ankle to the knee; lost toe on one foot (90) too many months of near starvation had reduced his bulk (95) charmed and encouraged the common folk (131) became a legend by being a tactical genius (150) unusual strength; a sense of rightness (249)
Lady Alisoun[Heroine] never did anything quickly; did everything deliberately and calmly (2) 24/5-y-o; expected proper behavior from all on her estate (3) the epitome of a lady; could reduce a grown man to tears with a few well-chosen words; funny-colored eyes (4) tall and slender; occasionally, she used her height to an advantage (9) the example of security and prosperity for George's Cross since the death of her parents when she was 13 (11) melodious voice (16) cool eyes as great as a wash of winter fog (17) tall; delicate; fair skin; slender fingers; rich; white velvet gown molded her curves with a loving touch (18) determined set of her chin ruined the almost perfect oval of her face (20) widow; eyes gray as flint; poised (21) countess at George's Cross; freckles across nose (23) 26-y-o; oldest widowed virgin in England and probably the Continent (30) inherited George's Cross and other states from her parents, then inherited the dower's portion of her husband's estates when he died; austere, emotionless features (38) perpetually took responsibility for everything and everybody; could strip a man of pride, of dignity, of sense with a few well-chosen words (51) courted the truth and dispensed only as much as she believed necessary (65) didn't know how to quarrel, for no one ever quarreled with her; never learned spontaneous repartee (143) red hair (151) the loneliest women David had ever met and she didn't even know it; kept so busy with her schedule she'd never learned to laugh, to show affection, to have fun (169) not demonstrative (210) an expert at detecting the sincerity of other's feelings (235)
. . .. . .
Alnod[One Appearance] one of the villagers of Radcliffe (278)
Andrew[No Appearance] one of squires training at George's Cross; 17-y-o (66)
Sir Guy of Archers[Secondary Character] a young night seeking to better himself; David did not take his possessions when he lost them in a tourney; is now David's devoted man to this day (59)
Avina[Rare Appearances] one of the George's Cross village women; got David water from the well (56)
John of Beauchamp[No Appearance] one of Alisoun's mercenary knights; traveled to Lancaster with Alisoun; spoke of receiving a better offer; did not arrive to at inn to return to George's Cross; fought beside David; a good man (43)
Roger of Bissonet[One Appearance] duke of Framlingford's steward and faithful servant; one tooth; mighty fighter; not a deep thinker (336)
Lawton, duke of Cleere[No Appearance] the man Edlyn's parents choose as her husband (110) an older man (112)
Easter[One Appearance] George's Cross cook (70)
Lady Edlyn[Secondary Character] 15-y-o; kind; beautiful; (2) came from a family of 6 girls (111) had soft spot for Hugh (221)
Eudo[Secondary Character] page telling story; 11-y-o (2) a bit of a lad; all elbows and knees and big blue eyes; blond hair (116) Alisoun assigned him to be David's squire (117) long, freckled hands; dimples in his cheeks; teeth crowded his mouth, his grin spread almost from ear to ear; difficult to resist (119) clever (120) skinny back (124) bastard boy (154)
Fenchel[One Appearance] the village reeve; skinny, balding little man (55)
Hugh de Florisoun[Secondary Character] one of squires training at George's Cross; almost a man grown; as good as any experienced knight (66)
Osbern, duke of Framlingford[Rare Appearances] the king's cousin; Alisoun's nemesis; represented to others that he was Alisoun's lover; powerful; influential; his wife had been Alisoun's best friend and her unexplained disappearance still created gossip (25) spectacular masculine beauty (26) charm used from his dashing figure, giving him a sheen most men envied; short black hair shown almost purple, like a black birds wings; blue eyes blazed with a heat of interest; sleek body rippled with muscle when he moved; older than Henry by 5 years (30) cruel; liked to hurt people (330) sleek black hair and flashing eyes, seemed the embodiment of masculine beauty; moved with an oiled grace; kept himself in the best fighting condition (334) charm scarcely covered his wretched soul (337)
Lady Frances[No Appearance] fostered Philippa and Alisoun; mean old woman who sucked the joy from life (159)
Godric[One Appearance] innkeeper of Crowing Cock Inn (33)
Simon, earl of Goodney[One Appearance] the man King Henry chose as Alisoun's husband; carried his nobility, his wealth, and his responsibilities well; a distinguished man; a recent widow were; held lands in Poitou (28) nasal voice; breezed and shared through his open mouth; food encrusted his eating knife; groped her breasts with his filthy fingers (29) so much gold in his possession he had cobwebs over the coins; a pedigree to make our soverign blush; as thrifty as a Spaniard with a bottle of port (34)
Gunhild[One Appearance] one of the George's Cross village women; repeated tales of David the mercenary (59)
Gunnewatte[Secondary Character] one of Alisoun's men-at-arms (22)
Hazel[Secondary Character] Philippa's daughter (77)
Heath[Brief Appearance] Lady Alisoun's chief maid (3)
King Henry III[Rare Appearances] holding court at Lancaster (25) 45-y-o; a superficial charm that covered his capricious nature; distasteful inclination toward sarcasm (26) mad for marriage; used it as a diplomatic coup, uniting England with Provence in his marriage (27)
Lothair of Hohenstaufen[No Appearance] one of Alisoun's mercenary knights; traveled to Lancaster with Alisoun; spoke of receiving a better offer; did not arrive to at inn to return to George's Cross (43)
Ivo[Secondary Character] one of castle's men-at-arms; big; dull (4) taller, broader, younger, in every way David's physical superior (23) a plain man; an honest man; viewed the world without imagination (376)
Jennings[No Appearance] one of squires training at George's Cross; 14-y-o (66)
King Louis[Animal] David's warhorse (36) massive white stallion had been part of the legend of David; six years of relative inactivity had left him with the attitude that tournament and combat were for younger horses (37) curiosity and confidence were as great as his masters (39)
Mabel[Rare Appearances] George's Cross's alewife (72) gray haired woman (73) Alisoun's best healer (167)
Marlowe[One Appearance] David's Radcliffe squire (292)
Nancy[One Appearance] Radcliffe goose girl (318)
Philippa[Secondary Character] kind (15) a handsome woman; had come to George's Cross from another of lady Alisoun's holdings; brought out of kindness because she had a babe but no husband (14) gentle (161)
Bertrade "Bert" of Radcliffe[Secondary Character] David's daughter; thin face (38) looked healthy, far from starvation; brown hair had been cut to a stubble all around her skinny face (280) brown eyes sparkled; skinny legs and arms; wanted to be a mercenary like her Daddy (281) blatant impudence (282) 7-y-o (306)
Mary of Radcliffe[No Appearance] David's wife; a whiny, frightened rabbit of a woman (38) did not like to incite her husband's lust; not even the prospect of another baby to cherish could overcome David's distaste for bedding a woman who increasingly looked like a molting duck and smelled like its favorite grub (50)
Sir Richard[No Appearance] took David's little finger in a melee when he was fledgling (89)
Siwate[One Appearance] stable boy; arguing with Eudo (152)
Tapestry[Animal] Lady Alisoun's cat; special to her; brought her dead mice; died a few weeks ago; someone skinned her alive and nailed her to the castle gate (6)
Tochi[No Appearance] old; knew more about growing herbs than anyone on the estate; answered Alisoun's questions with confidence and a smile (131)
Sir Walter[Secondary Character] disliked by page and the rest of the villagers; for all his superior airs, he was nothing but a knight, elevated by Lady Alisoun to the role of steward; he was supposed to secure her estates, but today he could scarcely unwrap himself from this woman long enough to show respect (3) offensive manner (4) he didn't take a hint (8) ruddy complexion; blue eyes; lived at George's Cross for more than 20 years; steward since the death of Alisoun's parents; lips lost in his beard; barrel chest (9) he dispensed the judgement that Alisoun made (73) ran the castle with a stern hand; a knight who held his position for too long coming to think his place was secure regardless of his actions (74) puffed up little grouse of a man (75) thoughtlessly cruel (116)
Sybil[One Appearance] slattern of an alewife (18)

Locations, Organizations Found In "Once A Knight"
Location / Organization Description
Northumbria, EnglandBook Setting
Beckonone of Alisoun's other estates; where the duchess of Framlingford came to visit Alisoun (261)
Crowing Cock Innwhere Alisoun was staying while in Lancaster (24)
George's CrossAlisoun's demesne; considered the last bastion of civilization in the wilderness of Fells and woods on the Irish Sea (37) nestled in a valley not far from the sea, it surrounded a square big enough to hold a market every Lammas Day (54)
George's Cross Castlerose like a rocky intrusion on the green, misty mountain (64)
Lancasterwhere Sir David of Radcliffe could be found (15) where King Henry II was holding court (25)
Poitouwhere Simon, earl of Goodney held lands; where the king wished to strengthen his ties (28)
RadcliffeDavid's beloved land was beyond George's Cross (38)
Wessexin the South of England; where Cleere was located (111)

"Once A Knight" Quotations
4He didn't like me because he didn't think I knew my place.   Actually, I did know it.   I didn't keep to it, but I knew it.   (Eudo)
18he once more tasted defeat.   Everything he had worked for, all his life, had turned to ashes, and now disaster stared him full in the face.   His daughter would suffer.   His people would starve.   And he couldn't save them.   The legendary mercenary David of Radcliffe had fallen at last.   (David)
32He had learned from his wife what idiots they were, but yesterday Alisoun had behaved like an average, rational person.   (David)
46Comprehending this woman took concentration.   He had to try and wiggle through the complex byways of her woman's brain. That was a warrior's nightmare, but she told him nothing, so he had to think.   (David)
54Ivo snorted, a huge, moist explosion of exasperation.   "How can m'lady go t' sleep wi' ye blatherin' on?   Stop praisin' yerself an' get back t' yer pallet."   (Ivo)
56Usually she understood men only too well, and it fretted her to have one who occasionally escaped definition.   (Alisoun)
63David knew he was just a man.     (David)
71men were the king; they held all the land.   Men were the father; they forced their daughters to do as they were told.   Men were the husband; they beat their wives with rods.   (Alisoun)
80If nothing else, during his stay he'd get Alisoun to laugh aloud and free her servants from this senseless bondage.   (David)
99"Your lands are magnificent, but you're also quite attractive."   She opened her mouth to retort, and he added, "When you keep quiet.   That just doesn't seem to happen often."   (David)
100other, greater nobles had tried to keep him in his place.   Other, greater circumstances had oppressed him, and he had merged tough, resilient, superior.   His difficult life had taught him much and given him the advantage over this well-bred lady.   He had only to remember that.   (David)
122"Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment."   (David)
124Horses were contrary, rude, and given to senseless fits of jealousy.   He understood them much better than he understood women.   (David)
132"Dreams are the forms in your mind for you dance to the tune of what may be."   (David)
133She wanted to cling to the safety of her prejudices.   (Alisoun)
166"The legend is dead. Sir David of Radcliffe is nothing but a washed up, has been failure."   (Walter)
236"I've learned that women are better obeyed when they restrain their emotions."   (Alisoun)

"Christina Dodd -- Once A Knight" Review and Information Links
Rated Posted Site Notes, Comments, Etc.
----Christina Dodd's WebsiteAuthor
----Christina Dodd's FacebookAuthor
----Christina Dodd's TwitterAuthor
----Christina Dodd's WikipediaAuthor
. . . . . . . . .. . .
----Fantastic FictionList of Christina Dodd's Books
----Fict FactList of Books In The Knight Series
----Fiction DBList of Christina Dodd's Books
. . . . . . . . .. . .
3.94 average{32 reviews}Amazonas of: February 24, 2015
4.00 average{7 ratings}Barnes & Nobleas of: February 24, 2015
3.72 average{738 ratings}Good Readsas of: February 24, 2015
----Internet Book ListList of Christina Dodd's Books
3.86 average{32 ratings}Library Thingas of: February 24, 2015
----Open Librarybrief bio / List of Christina Dodd's Books
3.80 average{112 ratings}Paperback Swapas of: February 24, 2014
----Paranormal Romancebrief bio / List of Christina Dodd's Books
----Publisher's WeeklyPR review
3.43 average{7 reviews}Shelfarias of: February 24, 2015
4.4002-24-2015Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

Notes:
♥   Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥   Very Subjective Rating