Title: Wildcat (Caledon Book 1)
Published: 5th September 2016
Author: JP Harker
Rhianwyn of the Caderyn is conflicted about giving up a warrior’s life to become a wife and mother, but her love for her new husband is enough to at least make her consider it. However, with the conquering Gaians moving ever closer to her homeland a peaceful life may no longer be an option, for Rhia or for any of her people. With rival tribes, old suitors, and the dangerous General Lepidus to contend with, Rhia soon finds her new family in unprecedented danger, and her choices now must be about more than just herself…
Wildcat takes place in a fantasy land inspired by Iron Age Britain and follows Rhianwyn’s story as she encounters a civilisation unlike any she could imagine, and is constantly forced to learn and adapt through trial after deadly trial.
Review might be late but this still goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book set in an era you would love to see. To observe only though as I think it would be a bit intense to be involved when the battles start up.
This seems to be a book of many parts following the journey, happy and sad in equal measure, of our warrior Rhia of Caderyn. We start almost as we mean to go on with a battle taking place between her people and the Gorvic. A battle won would put anyone in a good mood and as a result it seems that her father sees fit to declare that Bevan can have her hand in marriage. The gods that have spoken and the druids say it is a good match but have they really understood what the gods were saying in the first place? From what happens next maybe not. It seems that this first love was always fated to perish.
The Gorvic are on the rise again but this time they have brought the Gaians with them – much more specialist fighters. As a result the outcome is not what they would have hoped for. It seems Gaians have a way of making a clan crumble to almost nothing before making a deal to create a harmony of sorts – one that always seems to be in their favour. A treaty is signed and with it Rhia and her sister Gwen are sent off to live with the enemy by marring two of the rulers sons. With everything that has happened to Rhia – battle lost, Bevan’s death, and being attacked – she is almost just a shell of her former warrior self. This new husband of hers, Marius, is in for a bit of a struggle with his new bride.
Living with the enemy for many years you can see how Rhia would get lost in their ways and almost forget who she really is. A shock reminder of this and how Gaians see her people soon starts to put things in perspective. She hasn’t just got herself to worry about though. Along with wanting to protect her son she also has her sister Gwen to think about. She can tell that she is scared and you get the clear impression that it might be from her own husband. There is something not quite right about him. Whether he really is mad or just being manipulated by others remains to be seen but one thing is for sure, another battle is on the horizon and this time spells and sorcery are playing a part. Can Rhia and Marius bring the other tribes and warriors together to fight what’s coming?
Warriors are good but the Gadarim elite are better. The gods watch over them and they are the ones all aspire to become – even Rhia, though no woman has ever become one before. They fight and die with honour no matter the tribe they fight for. They will honour those that are the same. Side note – don’t get in their way and don’t be a coward. Now Gawan, aka Leaping Wolf and Gadarim for Gorvic, was an interesting character. He has a hate/hate relationship with Rhia from the first battle they were a part of. He might not like her but will soon come to respect her as a warrior – Fearless Wildcat is coming.
An interesting story but very long. I did feel at times there was just too much description of what was going on rather than dialogue between characters. Being cut down a bit could give it a quicker pace when things start rolling towards a final battle. The main focus in these battles is to do with honour among soldiers and warriors. Lose that and you might just lose your war. A battle might be won but I fear more could be on the horizon for our wildcat Rhia.
4 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.