Title: The Lion and the Crow
Author: Eli Easton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 144 Pages
At a Glance: The Lion and the Crow is an excellent historical tale of love and bravery
Blurb: In medieval England, duty is everything, personal honor is more valued than life itself, and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society. Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.
Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of a gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian. It’s a partnership that will test every strand of his moral fiber, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honor, and love.
Review: Sir Brandon has lived a life rife with bullying and a constant reminder that he is inferior to his brothers. One in particular, Malcolm, seems to bear an unusual hatred for his youngest brother. So, when he spies Sir William Corbett at a tournament, and later hears the knight requesting help from his Father, Brandon steps forward to help William rescue his sister from an abusive marriage. However, both Brandon and William harbor deep secrets, and the long, lonely journey finds these men at a crossroads where they can no longer hide from each other. But England does not look kindly on men desiring men, and these brave knights are risking their lives in order to keep their love alive.
The Lion And The Crow is a well-written historical romance. Set in a time when chivalry is alive and well, the story grapples with the hypocrisy of a ruling class that will look away at the taking of young squires by their less than noble knights, and alternately condemn men who have genuine affection for each other. Alongside this storyline runs the idea of birthright and how the sons of nobility found themselves with less and less freedom, treated more like chattel to be married off to women with large dowries that would support their father’s kingdoms. Brandon was one such son and despite his desire for the same sex, he knew it would be his lot to return home to wed a woman he barely knew and could not love.
Author Eli Easton paints a rich countryside that literally oozes the era of knighthood and its many facets. She peoples her land with brave men, cowardly and evil foes, and the idea that sacrifice is something all men of honor must embrace for the greater good. She paints a beautiful love story and presents an interesting and intelligent duo that fights all odds to remain together to the very end.
My only wish is that there would have been a longer glimpse at the life Brandon and William finally build for themselves and perhaps a sense of the danger that they lived with most every day of their lives if discovered as lovers. All along in the story this threat hung over their heads, and it would have been lovely to see them beat the odds in a more developed last section of the novella. However, the swift ending does not detract from the fast paced, intense story or the heat of the love between these two knights. All in all, The Lion And The Crow is an excellent historical tale of love and bravery.
You can buy The Lion and the Crow here: