Today I'm doing a review and book giveaway of K.M. Weiland's newest release, Behold the Dawn. For those vampire enthusiasts out there (of which I am one), this has nothing to do with vampires meeting the sun. :) Instead, it's a very well-written medieval historical set during the Crusades.
Here's a blurb about the book from the author's website:
Marcus Annan, a tourneyer famed for his prowess on the battlefield, thought he could keep the secrets of his past buried forever. But when a mysterious crippled monk demands Annan help him find justice for the transgressions of sixteen years ago, Annan is forced to leave the tourneys and join the Third Crusade.
Wounded in battle and hunted by enemies on every side, he rescues an English noblewoman from an infidel prison camp and flees to Constantinople. But, try as he might, he cannot elude the past. Amidst the pain and grief of a war he doesn’t even believe in, he is forced at last to face long-hidden secrets and sins and to bare his soul to the mercy of a God he thought he had abandoned years ago.Okay, before I put on my therapist cap, I just want to say that as a reader, this book was truly incredible. Katie does such a great job of keeping the reader turning the pages. There's something in this book for everyone: there is enough action to satisfy the adventure lover; enough impossible awakening love to satisfy the romantic; enough research to satisfy the historian, enough intrigue, betrayal and murder to satisfy the mystery lover, and enough mercy and forgiveness to satisfy the Christ-follower.
I was impressed with how Katie portrayed Marcus Annan's hopeless depression. He feels he's being punished by God simply for living such a long life as a tourneyer (an occupation where most people did not live for 16 years). He asks himself when he became "less than meaningless" because of past actions he can't mentally or emotionally release. Since he can't forgive himself, there's no way in his mind Christ could ever forgive him. His past is an insurmountable obstacle to accepting the love and grace God so freely gives.
Katie really gets in deep with Annan's pain and misery. If Annan was in my office with such despair, I'd have to do a suicide assessment on him and would end up checking him in somewhere. (You're such a meanie, Katie!) He's got suicidal ideation (thoughts of wanting to die) and he's got the plan (if he can just get an opponent with a stronger arm than him to smote him). He's got the means (he is a tourneyer) and he's got the motivation ("less than meaningless"). Prime candidate for self-termination.
But the story only begins here, folks. Annan has a wild ride ahead of him as he encounters this monk bent on vengeance. The monk definitely has his own emotional and psychological issues. He went from a devout, God-fearing monk to an altered man willing to stop at nothing for revenge. The desire for revenge can destroy a man, because when the mind dwells for years in hatred and anger and bitterness, the result is a blindness to truth and a victory for Satan.
Katie's book is one of hope. Nothing is too great to separate us from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:38-39). He came to heal not the righteous, but the sick (Matt. 9:12-13). I was reminded of these verses reading this book. Behold the Dawn is a great message of new beginnings.
In a nutshell, Behold the Dawn has beautiful prose, engaging plot, secrets that explode off the page...it's a compelling read.
If you're interested in winning a copy of this book, then please leave a comment in the comment section with your email address. I'll post the winner Saturday!