Title: The Lion and The Crow
Author: Eli Easton
Narrator: Scott Richard Ehredt
Length: 5 hours – 3 minutes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release: January 19th 2015
Genre: M/M (historical)
In medieval England, duty is everything, personal honor is more valued than life itself, and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society.
Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.
Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of a gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian. It’s a partnership that will test every strand of his moral fiber, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honor, and love.
Dashing knights, chivalry, sword fights, castles, damsels in distress. A great medieval story with everything you could wish for.
I loved this story, it contained everything that I love from this period. I couldn't have wished for more. The writing made the story totally believable and it was also pure escapism.
Sir William, The Lion, needs to rescue his sister and daughters from the clutches of a cruel beast for a husband who abuses her. He goes to Lord Brandon to ask to raise an army to fight for his sister against her tyrannical husband Lord Sommerfield. His request is turned down, but Lord Brandon's youngest son, Christian known as The Crow offers his services to escort William to the castle of Lord Sommerfield and there he would challenge him. You could feel the love the William has for his sister at this point. This is a time when women would not have been valued as a person but only for the contractual benefits they can bring in dowry, improving relationships between warring factions. Basically a pawn to be used in business. But William feels very close to his sister and can’t accept her circumstances.
Christian had already seen William at the tournament and was attracted to him immediately and this was mutual. They set out together and Christian breaks down the moral defences of William eventually and both give in to their carnal desires. I really liked the way the author made this all totally believable for the time. There was no lovey-dovey romance, but two tough knights caught up in their passion for each other. Though inwardly William is still battling with his demons as at that time it would have been a big no-no. William is chivalrous to the point of stubbornness which only ends up infuriating Christian however even The Lion for all his strength can't deny the feelings he develops for Christian.
I just loved Christian. The youngest of several older brothers. Always having to defend himself has given him a strength and cunning that impresses William. He has always been underestimated by his brothers and father. Especially his brother, Malcolm, what a nasty piece of work he was. Hated him. A most disagreeable character that made my skin crawl.
Christian works out a rather unconventional plan to get the Lady Elaine out of the clutches of her husband. This was a great idea and just loved the way that this was plotted out. After the rescue William's sister realises what is going on and talks sense to her brother.
"Sometimes, William, what the world asks of us is wrong. And when it is wrong, there is no honour in obeying it."
I loved Lady Elaine, she was calm, collected and said all the things her brother needed to hear. Even she had her secrets and kept them close to her heart but reveals them to open her brother’s eyes at how silly he is being. Even Christian realises that he would not be happy living any other life than to be with William. After coming up with yet another plan Christian confronts William.
"William, I have no choice but to live a life of lies. If I go home and marry a woman of my father's choosing, I will live a lie. At least I can choose the lie and find what happiness I can in the sanctity of my own home."
This is the second edition and here there is an epilogue at the end. This I’m afraid didn’t work well with me. It just felt too rushed to be effective. We span some 30+ years chronicling the rest of their life story, packed into 20 pages or so after Christian and William get their HFN at the conclusion of their adventure which has brought them together. It gave me the impression that it was stuck on the end, a little like an after thought, to try and get a tear jerker out of a story that doesn’t necessarily need it in my opinion. But for this it just went way too fast. It just didn’t add anything more meaningful to the story for me. I think sometimes it’s better to leave the story where they arrive at their HEA or HFN, skip off into the sunset, and what happens after this can be left to the reader.
The plot is simple but very effective. I found the characters and emotions to be believable for that time. The descriptions were good and takes the reader back to a time of knights of old. So be prepared to be swept off your feet by two adorable knights in shining armour.
The narration can sometimes be one of the most difficult things to reflect on and review. Scott is obviously a professional and the narration was very well done. However, for my ears it just wasn’t the right voice for this book so I guess for me personally it wasn’t exactly the right casting so to say. Scott has a wonderful, David Attenborough style voice, his voice is a mature one and very English, however an historical book doesn’t necessarily need an “historical” voice. The story, although in the past, is told from the present day perspective of the characters set in that time. Both MCs are only in their twenties and therefore the narration for me was just too mature for the story. It would have been fine if it was the type of story where someone a lot older was reflecting on their youth and telling the story from this perspective, but trying to imagine two young virile men who are knights listening to a voice that sounds well over fifty just didn’t sit right with my ears. As with a lot of British narrators, sometimes they are for me just a little too posh or “BBC newsreader” as well. The UK has a lot of regional accents and variations, so sometimes it would be nice just to take the BBC polish off the dialogues a little and give the characters a more normal or natural accent. As I said a difficult one for me to review as this is always a personal thing, the narrator does a good job but his voice is just misplaced for this story. Either a voice sits well with the listener or it doesn’t so I’ll leave this one up to everyone’s individual taste.
Listen to an Excerpt
Audio Purchase Links
Ebook Purchase Links
Meet Eli Easton
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.
As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.
You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org