I wasn’t intending to read this week, but I got completely caught up in Grave Mercy.
When Ismae was a babe in the womb, her mother took a poison to kill her. It didn’t work, and Ismae grew up with a horrid scar and was beaten by her brute of a father, a turnip farmer. When her father tried to sell her off to be a wife to an equally brutal man and the man saw her scar, Ismae ran away with help from a priest and an herbwitch to the convent of St. Mortain, the patron saint or god of death who had favored her since her ill birth. At the convent she learns the arts of making poisons, seduction, and murder. After her two successful kills, she is put directly into the court of intrigue of Brittany where the young duchess Anne is surrounded by wealthy men vying for her hand in marriage. Her brother, Duval, defends her and Ismae is to play his mistress as she serves the will of the saint of death. She is tasked with discovering who is betraying them to the French and managing her own hidden nature. Is Duval really a true and loyal vassal of his sister? If so, then who among her circle has a hidden agenda…Ismae must discover the secrets of the court and her own heart if she hopes to succeed in saving her country, her duchess, and her future.
I started this book yesterday and, despite the breaks I took to keep writing for NaNo, I finished it at 3 a.m. this morning because I was addicted. I thought the writing and the plot both flowed effortlessly. Although I found it hard to flesh out Ismae’s character and really get close enough to her to genuinely like her, I quite liked Duval. I also enjoyed the romance inherent in the book, but still wonder what happened to the duchess’s final plans for marriage… All in all, I think this is a book worth reading if you enjoy medieval history, the dance of politics, romance, marriage, and the inevitable death. It has a deadly heroine caught in a web of mystery, secrets, promises, and lies. It will pull you in and take you on a fast-paced adventure. Read!
Rating: Good Read! Loved it! Plan to buy in the future!
The next book in the series comes out April 2013 and follows another St. Mortain initiate, Sybella. I will certainly read it!