Review of Behold the Dawn, by K.M. Weiland

Compelling and riveting historical fiction

Get ready for a novel by KM Weiland that will grab you and hold on until you turn the last of its captivating pages.

Behold the Dawn, by K.M. Weiland

Behold the Dawn opens in the year 1192 when Crusaders under King Richard I battled Saladin’s Muslim forces in the Holy Land in an attempt to recapture Jerusalem. At the same time, Marcus Annan engaged in deadly mock battle as a Tourneyer. Annan, “…fought today for the same reason he always fought: it was the only thing his life had left him fit for.” Under threat of excommunication, tourney participants such as Annan continued to ply their trade.

Excerpt from the tourney

The setting sun, burning gold through the dust of the field, glinted against the iron tip of a war hammer. Annan’s blood pumped heat into his muscles. The rules of this tourney banned the war hammer from competition; its lethal heft would crush armor and shatter flesh and bone alike. His fist tightened on his sword hilt, the leather finger of his gauntlet creaking against the steel of the crossguard. Marcus Annan wasted no mercy on duplicitous knaves.

After a day of dealing death, he’s troubled by the sight of a faceless monk, a face hidden within the shadow of a cowl. By the time the spark of recognition brought flashes of hidden memories from 16 years past, the monk disappeared. Annan collected his spoils and ransom from battle while a chain of unfolding events propelled him from Bari, Italy to the fields of battle in the Holy Land.

Annan and his sidekick Peregrine Marek, a Scottish lad indentured to his service, would face deadly challenges from former comrades at arms in addition to threats from avowed enemies. A onetime believer in Christianity, Annan now felt his soul beyond hope; a conscience seared from a life running away from a nightmare called St. Dunstan. Gethin the monk, also known as the Baptist, raged against the Church, the Pope, the Holy War and especially against Roderic the Bishop. These words resurrected memories of the tragic day as he had tried to forget all those years.

During an encounter with Roderic and men at arms allied with him, Annan agrees to kill a former colleague by the name of Matthias, but refuses to kill William, Earl of Keaton his former mentor, his wife Lady Mairead, and the Baptist. By doing so, events are set in motion that take Annan and Marek to the Holy Land.

Not long after landing on the beaches of Acre, Annan and Marek found themselves in the heat of battle, tasting victory as Crusader catapults breached the walls of Acre. Just when the battle appeared to be won, Saladin’s cavalry breached the flanks of Christian fighters. Annan took an arrow from a Saracen volley as it passed through his mail shirt. A Moslem blade disemboweled Annan’s mount. Annan fell, the world around him faded. When Annan woke, he found himself in a prison camp in the care of Knights Hospitalers and in the presence of Lady Mairead the Countess of Keaton, wife of William of Keaton. Annan is one of 2,500 prisoners. Eventually, Annan gained an audience with William after making a plea to Mairead. During that meeting, a dying William made a daunting request, a request to escort Mairead from the Holy Land to a convent in Orleans, France.

Annan accepts the request that will lead to a series of attacks on Annan and Mairead. The story progresses through a series of narrow escapes. Enemies abound. Friends die. Mystery compels constant diligence. Mairead, a deeply religious Christian, prays for Annan, not for his life only but that he accept God’s redemption. While doing so, barriers she had placed between them, fade. Her persistence causes him to question his lack of faith. Maybe there is hope after all.

KM Weiland thoroughly researched the period then used her amazing gift of expression and talents of turning the right phrase and delivering memorable quotes. Readers become part of the field of battle, experience thrilling suspense, and visualize colorful tapestries as she paints poetic word pictures of earth, sky and sea.

Excerpt, lyrical text

This was the fortress city of Jaffa, its repaired walls dark against the sunset red of the sea, pinpricks of early firelight just beginning to show through the window slits in the wall.

I’ve read and enjoyed other novels and short stories by KM Weiland and have a new favorite in Behold the Dawn.

In addition to writing wonderful fiction, Ms. Weiland has written back to back, award winning books on the writing craft, Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel.  Refer to her author biography for a complete listing of her work.

K.M. Weiland Biography

K.M. Weiland Author, mentor and blogger

K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as the western A Man Called Outlaw, the medieval epic Behold the Dawn, and the portal fantasy Dreamlander. When she’s not making things up, she’s busy mentoring other authors on her award-winning blog http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com. She makes her home in western Nebraska. Find out more about her fiction at http://www.kmweiland.com.

Why I write:
Stories are like breathing. Life without a story in my head is one-dimensional, stagnant, vapid. I love the life God has given me, but I think I love it better because I’m able to live out so many other lives on the page. I’m more content to be who I am because I’m not trapped in that identity. When I sit down at my computer and put my fingers on the keys, I can be anyone or anything, at any time in history. I write because it’s freedom.

Writing routine:
I set aside two hours, five days a week, to write, usually between four and six p.m. I’m a firm believer in Peter de Vries claim: “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.” I spend the first half hour scribbling ideas in a writing journal, reviewing character sketches and research notes, reading an article on the craft, and proofreading what I wrote the day before. Then I pick a soundtrack, say a prayer for guidance, and dive in.

Process:
It takes years sometimes for my ideas to find their way onto the page. After the first kernel of inspiration takes root, I play with it and play with it, discovering characters and scenes and plot twists. Finally, when I think it’s ready, I dig out a notebook and start sketching ideas and outlines. Depending on the subject matter, I spend a few months researching, then take a deep breath and pray that all the work will pay off in a way that will glorify God.

Inspiration:
Most of my story ideas begin with a character and a place. An outlaw in the Wyoming Territory. A mercenary knight in the Crusades. A vigilante plantation owner in Kenya. A female spy in the Napoleonic Wars. A barnstormer in early 20th-century Kansas. After that, who knows? Inspiration is a gift from God: bits and pieces, tiny ideas that bloom into unexpected treasures.

Advice:
Writing is both a gift and an art. As a gift, it must be approached with humility: the writer is only the vessel through which inspiration flows. As an art, it must be approached with passion and discipline: a gift that’s never developed wasn’t worth the giving.

Websitehttp://www.kmweiland.com/

Writing advice: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/

Amazon.com Author Page: Link

Smashwords: Link

5 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Historical Fiction, Writing

5 responses to “Review of Behold the Dawn, by K.M. Weiland

  1. K.M. Weiland

    Thanks so much, Rich! So glad you enjoyed my baby!

    • The pleasure is all mine, Katie!
      You have a handful of new reviews today and two of them mentioned something that I failed to comment on, the wonderful surprise ending. I’ll leave it at that but again, Kudos!

  2. My pleasure, Rich. Best wishes.

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