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Francia, circa 900

"The horse was lathered and nearly spent. The animal was more used to the plow than the armored man and the woman it carried.

No use, the warrior thought. The horse would die soon, and leave them at the mercy of the ...

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Francia, circa 900

"The horse was lathered and nearly spent. The animal was more used to the plow than the armored man and the woman it carried.

No use, the warrior thought. The horse would die soon, and leave them at the mercy of the two Vikings following. Better to pick the time and place himself.

'When we reach the trees, I'll pull up and turn,' he said to her. 'You jump off, run!'"

So begins the exciting and moving story of Owen, the compassionate warrior-Bishop of Chantalon, and Elin, a woman of the Forest People and recent prisoner of the marauding Vikings. Skilled in the mystery and powers of the Old Ones of the forest, Elin combines her talents with Owen's strength and courage to defend Chantalon.

All the grittiness of an obscure time in European history adds authenticity to a large and colorful cast of endearing characters who will sweep the listener into a world of treachery and betrayal, loyalty and devotion.

Featuring a special Introduction by her sister, New York Times bestselling author Anne Rice, Alice Borchardt's lushly detailed backdrop of tenth century France sets the stage for Devoted. A remarkable tale of passion, adventure, and mysticism, this unforgettable debut novel is commercial fiction at its best.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gut-roiling battle scenes are the strength of this first novel set in ninth-century France, but they come too late and too infrequently to inspire most readers to forgive the overwrought prose that surrounds them. Owen, Bishop of Chantalon, risks his life to save Elin, a forest girl of sorceresslike powers who has escaped the Viking camp where she was enslaved. Undying love develops between the two-instantly, with no setbacks and little tension-and is expressed often and graphically. Viking raiders are terrorizing the region; their menace is exacerbated by Count Anton and his bastard son Gerlos, who collect tributes from the people for the Vikings but keep part of the confiscated riches for themselves. Betrayed by his friend Reynald, Owen is captured by the ``Northmen'' but quickly saved by his Saxon henchman Enar and a band of Elin's ``forest people.'' Later, Elin's mystical powers curse Reynald to his death and bring on a storm to defeat the northern invaders. Borchardt effectively conjures life in a far-flung era, but more action and less romance might have made this tale of an odd alliance between early Christians and European pagans a fresher read. (Sept.)
Library Journal
When Viking prisoner Elin warns Owen, the bishop of Chatalon, of his imminent capture by Vikings, he repays her by escaping with her in tow and taking her to wife. But Owen's ultimate capture provide obstacles to their happiness-obstacles that eventually only Elin and her pagan kinfolk who follow the Old Ways can overcome. Filled with humor, action, and characters who are of their time and who speak through their actions, this novel of medieval France is romantic, historically accurate, and compelling. All in all, a rather remarkable first novel. Borchardt is Anne Rice's sister.
Nancy Pearl
In a top-notch example of the "heaving bosom, swollen manhood" subgenre of historical fiction, Owen, the bishop of Chantalon, and the enslaved Elin, who, like all the Forest People, is skilled in the arts of healing and magic, meet while both are escaping from Vikings. Their passionate love affair, which represents the melding of Christian and pagan beliefs, is graphically played out against the constant assaults on the town by Viking raiders. When Owen is captured by a Viking chieftain, Elin uses the strengths of both their worlds to rescue Owen and save the town. This first novel, which leaves ample plot room for a sequel, is plagued with a pedestrian writing style and a confusing array of indistinguishable characters. In addition, given the dearth of convincing historical detail, readers will be hard pressed to figure out when and where the book is set. Why should libraries spend $24.95 for what should be a $5.99 paperback? Because Borchardt is Anne Rice's sister, a fact that savvy publicists will no doubt use to great advantage in encouraging a large readership.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451403964
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 524
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 6.84 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice Borchardt shared a childhood of storytelling with her sister, Anne Rice, in New Orleans. A professional nurse, she nurtured a profound interest in little-known periods of history. She died in 2007.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2002


    It is the type of book to sit down on a gray day and read, because it is long, but good. I found it enchanting, and easy to picture in my mind. This is my first book of this paticular author, and I was not let down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2000

    Didn't Hold My Interest

    This was the first Alice Borchardt novel that I have ever read. I was disappointed in it because it jumped from scene to scene and didn't have very good character depth. I also was looking for more electricity between Elin and Owen and I hadn't found it by the eigth chapter, so I put it down. If your looking for romance or flowing plot look elsewhere.

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