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The Song and the Sword cover art

The Song and the Sword

By: Isabelle Chevallot
Narrated by: Andrew Kingston
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In 12th-century England, King Richard the Lionheart has just ascended the throne, and preparations are underway for the Third Crusade to wrest the Holy Land from Saladin's clutches. Young lovers Eleanor and Hugh are thwarted by their fathers. While Eleanor is married off to Baron Rolf, a man who simmers with menace and will stop at nothing in his bid for power, Hugh trains to become a knight and embarks on Crusade to escape an arranged marriage to a woman he despises. From the stark walls of Dover Castle, to the sanctuary of an austere priory and across tempest-swept seas to Normandy and the prosperous city of Messina, Sicily, Eleanor and Hugh must each brave a lonely and perilous journey of love and loss, grief and endurance with only their own wits to rely on.

©2022 Isabelle Chevallot (P)2022 Isabelle Chevallot

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  • Brian
  • 04-11-22
Listener received this title free

Great Storytelling In A Fascinating Era

It’s nice to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while. I did so with The Song and the Sword. Going into it, I knew it was set during a time that I knew very little about. And an era in that I’ve read even fewer fictional stories. Chevallot’s story starts off slowly, leading to a “slow burn” sort of feel where we learn about the characters, what makes them tick, and a little about the surrounding timeline.

Chevallot was able to write a romantic story within a timeline known for brutalist actions and lots of bloodsheds. And is still able to capture the essence of the romantic elements and the time it takes place. I don’t think this would have been easy, but I couldn’t tell she struggled while reading. A few times, I thought that she went on and on about certain things – but I took a step back and realized that because I knew so little about this era and these people, the descriptions of places and things were important to the storyline, and it stopped bothering me. They also let up as the story progressed and the “action” started.

The Song and the Sword was one of those books that surprised me. When I first started reading it I was perplexed as to where the story was going to go, but within a few minutes, I had a feeling I knew. Even knowing/assuming didn’t take away from the excellent storytelling Chevallot flexed here.

Andrew Kingston’s performance was excellent. I thought that he brought life into a story that already had some momentum. He was able to take Chevallot’s story and really make it shine. I’ve never listened to any of Kingston’s performances before, but this probably won’t be my last.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • AudioBookReviewer
  • 03-11-22
Listener received this title free

Historical Romance and Adventure

A historically based novel during the Crusades and reign of King Lionheart, this is a story of young lovers thwarted by tradition and parents. Each promised to wed another, and they each seek their own escape. Hugh to the Crusade and Elean
or to the ruthless nun priory. Together their love could be strong, separate they must become strong to survive.

Isabelle Chevallot, the author, has set her story in a time that is often romanticized and recognized for brutality. Her story of Eleanor and Hugh speaks to both but shows an underlying side to tradition and power. Moving moments of insight into the lives of women during this period of time are woven deeply into the story leaving the listener wide-eyed. The plot twists are rich and edge-of-your-seat action. A mesmerizing story. It is abundantly clear that Chevallot did her research to make this story as accurate as possible and to provide such astute dangers faced by women and those without power.

The narrator, Andrew Kingston gives a solid performance with unique voices for each character. He captures the essence of each character and projects them with rich intonations. He speaks clearly and with a steady cadence. I enjoyed hearing him narrate and hope to hear him again.

This is an action-filled romance that anyone would enjoy.

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