Praise from Bestselling Authors for Between Two Fires
“A spirited ride through a turbulent slice of Welsh history!” – Paula Brackston, NYT Bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter
“A fast-paced read that has a wonderfully visual style and some memorable characters. Mark Noce combines Welsh history with a touch of folkloric magic in this promising debut novel. Lady Branwen is a strong and engaging narrator and the turbulent setting of early medieval Wales makes a fine backdrop for an action-packed story.” – Juliet Marillier, Bestselling author of Daughter of the Forest and Wolfskin
Synopsis of Between Two Fires
Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King.
But this fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen herself becomes the target of assassinations and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.
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Release Date: August 23, 2016
Mark Noce writes historical fiction with a passion, and eagerly reads everything from fantasy to literature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. In addition to writing novels, he also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.
His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is being published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin's Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales.
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My short review: Branwen is caught between two fires, between two men, between the love of her family and the love of her entire people. She is tested, betrayed, sold into marriage like a prized calf, but she grows from an innocent young woman to an amazing healer who cares for her people with genuine love and concern that they can't help but notice. The historical world-building is believable and brilliant, as Mark Noce works within the realities of the way women were treated in history and yet manages to create a strong heroine worthy of her people's admiration and respect. The characters, even the "secondary" characters, were fully realized and Branwen's heartache and growth as a character feel like truth. Excellent writing and excellent to read!
News from me: tomorrow, my daughters board a plane with other Team USA athletes and their coaches to travel to Hungary for the Olympic Hopes Regatta. Many thanks to those who supported their Go Fund Me campaigns!!! International competition is expensive and this may not be the only one . . . or it might be. We don't know.
With that thought, I scrounged, wiggled, and crunched numbers so I could join a small contingent of parents going to watch our kids. This made me feel a bit odd with the Go Fund Me stuff going on, but I'm trying to go on my writing and home-school class teaching money . . . which is not in the activity/athletic budget. My husband is staying home and I'm going to miss him dearly.
Anyway, please visit with Mark (I'll be here for a few days to check in), and please pray for safe travels for Team USA and for me.