I consider literary-induced insomnia, inspiring writing, and mild fictional character obsession the marks of a great story. K.M. Weiland’s thrilling historical fiction novel, Behold the Dawn, provides all of the above.
The year is 1192. Marcus Annan is a tourneyer famous for his deadly ability with a sword and marked by indifference to his life. He fights soldiers on the battlefield as expertly as he buries the secrets from his youth. When Annan comes face to face with a living ghost from his past he is forced to join the Third Crusade in order to finally put his demons to rest.
When Annan is wounded in battle, he’s taken to a prison camp where an English noblewoman, Mariead, takes care of him. Annan promises safe haven to Mariead when her life is threatened, and they escape together. Annan and Mariead journey together across a dangerous land, the secrets from both their pasts never far behind. As they fight off the murderous men trailing them they must also battle their impossible emotions, but will the dark secrets from Annan’s past finally find him?
Behold the Dawn is the story of a man who left his faith amidst the wreck of his past and whose sin weighs more than the heavy battle armor he wears. But God is in the business of redemption and He works from the inside out. No one is out of His reach or beyond His healing.
Great writing is equal parts verbal artistry and analytical detail, and Ms. Weiland covers both beautifully in this story. Behold the Dawn is sweeping and vast in scope yet character-driven and focused. The plot moves along swiftly, filled with action that crackles off the pages. The author’s emotional investment in her characters is obvious, as is her pure enjoyment in the craft of writing. Battle-weary, honorable Annan, strong and faithful Mariead, and loyal, entertaining Marek are well-developed, realistic characters who held my sympathy tightly in their hands.
Though I don’t normally read historical fiction, Behold the Dawn was well worth it. I was swept away by the epic, detailed battle scenes and the non-stop, exciting plot. The romantic tension between Mariead and Annan was sweet, realistic, and just as gripping as the explosive fight scenes.
To top it off, the author popped an amazing plot punch at the end! The twist was completely unexpected but ultimately fulfilling for the books’ characters and the reader. (And I just might reread the book to catch details of the twist!)
I thoroughly enjoyed Behold the Dawn and I highly recommend it.