Book Blast and Review: The Challenge by Kim Iverson Headlee

MediaKit_BookCover_TheChallengeThe Challenge
by Kim Iverson Headlee

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GENRE: Historical Fantasy Romance

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BLURB:

The gauntlet is thrown. One must die. Refusal is not an option.

Arthur the High King of Breatein has fallen captive of a longtime enemy, the Saxon warrior-princess Camilla, who lusts to avenge the death of her betrothed at Gyan’s hands and will stop at nothing, even the black arts, to achieve her goal. Because Gyan and Arthur have grown estranged, she fears that Arthur may side with Camilla and make her his new queen.

To meet Camilla’s challenge, Gyan must face all her demons—public as well as private.

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EXCERPT:

Upon reaching Gyan’s side, Angusel thrust a scroll into her hand, his gaze softening. Her stomach knotted. It took all her strength of will to keep her hands from trembling as she broke the seal and unrolled the parchment to read its contents.

She had expected word of Arthur’s condition, couched in threats. Not this.

Camilla had issued a personal challenge to end the impasse by single combat in front of Gyan’s troops. If Gyan declined the challenge, violated the terms, or lost the fight, her crown would be declared forfeit.

Gyan crushed the parchment in her fist.

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My Review:

This short story (very short, like 6,000 words) is enjoyable and well-written. However, I don’t know why the main character is “Gyan” and not Guinevere. It doesn’t really make sense. This is an Arthurian legend, the question about why Guinevere has been re-cast with a new character was very distracting. I couldn’t really get into it because I was annoyed that in a story with Arthur and Merlin, Guinevere was missing. I suspect this is actually just  a sampling from a much larger work, which may or may not explain Guinevere’s absence, but it is presented as a stand-alone short story, so the question was just too big for me to get over.

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About the Author:

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheChallengeKim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native and a direct descendent of twentieth-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Babushka escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the seventh-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels clamoring for attention. She has been a published novelist since 1999, beginning with the original editions of Dawnflight (Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster) and Liberty (writing as Kimberly Iverson, HQN Books, Harlequin).

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE – http://www.amazon.com/Kim-Headlee/e/B001KE2LK2

This book will be offered FREE on Kindle Oct 27-28

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  • Goddess Fish Promos

    Thanks for hosting!

  • Kim Headlee

    Thank you for reviewing and hosting THE CHALLENGE on your blog today!

    To clarify, Gyan (Gyanhumara) IS Guinevere.

    I gave her a name of my own invention based on the oldest known form of the name, Guanhumara, more than 25 years ago when I first started crafting her world because I see it as my lifelong mission to overturn fifteen centuries of bad press for this remarkable woman. To attempt a task of that magnitude while still keeping the name “Guinevere” never would have worked for me.

    Normally I include backmatter to describe the characters and terms (for example, “Breatein” in this story is “Britain” in Gyan’s native language–also of my own invention) but didn’t in this novella because it’s so short. I shall consider doing so for the next update! 🙂

    Thanks again for your perspective,
    Kim Headlee
    Stories make us greater.

    • LeighAndersonRomance

      Thanks so much for your reply! I even looked up “Gyan” to see if she was a character I wasn’t remembering from when I studied Arthurian legends at University and nothing came up, so, yeah, just a little blurb at the beginning about why her name was changed would have made a big difference for me. Since the other names stayed the same, it just stood out as too odd that Guinevere seemed replaced.