Song at Dawn (The Troubadours Quartet, #1)

Song at Dawn (The Troubadours Quartet, #1)

3.7 9
by Jean Gill

Believable, page-turning and memorable. Lela Michael, S.P. Review

1150: Provence

Winner of the Global Ebook Award for Best Historical Fiction 

On the run from abuse, Estela wakes in a ditch with only her lute, her amazing voice, and a dagger hidden in her underskirt. Her talent finds a patron in Alié


Believable, page-turning and memorable. Lela Michael, S.P. Review

1150: Provence

Winner of the Global Ebook Award for Best Historical Fiction 

On the run from abuse, Estela wakes in a ditch with only her lute, her amazing voice, and a dagger hidden in her underskirt. Her talent finds a patron in Aliénor of Aquitaine and more than a music tutor in the Queen's finest troubadour and Commander of the Guard, Dragonetz los Pros. 

Weary of war, Dragonetz uses Jewish money and Moorish expertise to build that most modern of inventions, a papermill, arousing the wrath of the Church. Their enemies gather, ready to light the political and religious powder-keg of medieval Narbonne. 

Set in the period following the Second Crusade, Jean Gill’s spellbinding romantic thrillers evoke medieval France with breathtaking accuracy. The characters leap off the page and include amazing women like Eleanor of Aquitaine and Ermengarda of Narbonne, who shaped history in battles and in bedchambers.

One of the best historical novels I’ve read in a long time. Paul Trembling, Dragonslayer

The first book in The Troubadours Quartet is a walk through time! That is what it was like to read this fine novel. It drew me into the pages and would not let go of me until done! Bravo for a wonderful read! Arwin Blue, By Quill Ink and Parchment Historical Fiction blogger

Fascinating history - terrific plot. Brian Wilkerson, Trickster Eric Novels blogger

Page-turning intrigue in the best historical fiction tradition. J.G. Harlond, The Empress Emerald

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The 13th Sign
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Troubadours Quartet , #1
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Song at Dawn 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
SPRcom More than 1 year ago
Jean Gill’s extensive, caring research for her book Song of Dawn places this novel appropriately into the classification of Historical Novel. The front and back matter provide us with a period map, a list of historical figures appearing in the book, and an impressive list of research sources consulted. That the author is a highly-skilled and respectful researcher is all well and good, but the next question is, can she write fiction? In a word, yes. Our protagonist’s personality, chief motivations, and obstacles are outlined within the first two pages; two other major characters are outlined and the plot foreshadowed by the end of the first chapter; and the remaining 22 chapters, with the author’s deft one-two punch of complex characters and an even more complex plot, prove this novel a decided “page-turner.” The plot yields plentiful fodder on the politics of power, both personal and societal; the consequences of religious and ethnic bigotry are explored in depth; we learn that it was once a crime punishable by death to manufacture paper; we receive more than a glimpse of what it might have been like to live in another time period. The mentions of natural remedies and how they were used in the 12th century spice things up, so to speak, and the presence of a big white dog in the lengthy cast of characters doesn’t hurt, either. At 354 pages, a lack of plot is not a concern whatsoever. It is by way of this intricate plot that Jean Gill extracts payback for time spent on her meticulous research by demanding that her reader pay attention. There isn’t one sentence in this book that doesn’t move the story forward. Space doesn’t permit commentary on all of the numerous characters in Song at Dawn, but a brief word on the main character, Estela de Matin. Gill inserts into the story something that sets Estela apart from other fictional female characters such as Jane Eyre, i.e., young women who find themselves cast alone into a world controlled by men and stifling social institutions: Estela wants to be a musical performer. Estela’s desire to develop her talent is arguably her greatest motivation, or at the least equal to, her desire for “true” love and a natural curiosity about sex. In fact, it is in Chapter 1 that Estela must pass an audition in order to literally keep from getting killed. Her beautiful voice saves her. With its detailed historical setting, a believable, page-turning plot, and memorable characters, Song at Dawn is an enjoyable, interesting read. These elements of successful craftsmanship in place, Jean Gill goes the extra literary mile by using an authentic, consistent narrative voice—a voice I not only trust, but am left wanting to hear again. I reluctantly give Song at Dawn a rating of 4 of 5 stars. The paperback copy I read contained several commas that should have been periods, a couple of minor typos, a few formatting problems (all at the bottom of the page), and one obvious use of a cliché. If these things have since been fixed, please consider my rating 5-star.
Anonymous 15 days ago
Amazingly timely as religious wars continue in our world. I wonder if the current, information explosion, of cell phone technology, will affect the ability of nefarious leaders to incite prejudice much as the availability of books and paper did. May be read and enjoyed for the story and prose,alone. But I shall reread for the currancy.
Anonymous 8 months ago
I realize the time period but I just can't get into a 16 yr old being married to a much older guy. (I'm sure it happened a lot though). and the story just wasn't that interesting to me. too much women gossiping, conniving and plotting against each other.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous 12 months ago
I love historical fiction, but this has a different refreshing take that is very well done. I can't wait to start the next in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting story, but bogged down with the minute historical details that really weren't necessary for the storty.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So interesting, it was hard to put down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CourtneeyLin More than 1 year ago
Song at Dawn is historical fiction at it’s absolute finest. You will immediately be entranced and in love with everything about this book. Setting the scene in 12th Century France, Jean Gill paints an incredible picture of life at the time. It’s the perfect pairing of history, romance and mystery. To describe this novel in a word: Masterful. Dragonetz los Pros is Commander of the Guard to Queen Alienor of Aquitaine. In addition to acquiring this noble status of Knight at such a young age, Dragonetz is also the finest troubadour of the time; making music and creating lyric that have only cemented his fame and reputation. His sharpened good looks, charm, creative talent and heart of a warrior draw women to him like moths to a flame; women he was often quick to welcome with open arms. This all changed, however, the day he stumbled upon a beautiful young lady standing alone on the side of the road; And so entered the one woman that Dragonetz wanted to keep at a distance. Estela de Matin is a young girl with nothing but question marks where her past is supposed to be. When Alienor and her Court find her on the side of the road, she is even reluctant to give away her true name. Dragonetz and Alienor are prepared to kill the girl and continue on their journey until they uncover Estela’s incredible gift; her voice. Estela’s angelic voice earned her an invitation to join the Court as they traveled to the kingdom of Narbonne. Neither Dragonetz nor Estela is quick to trust, let alone form any sort of attachment to people, but it doesn’t take long for a bond between them to flourish. Their relationship blossoms naturally and feels very realistic to the reader. Jean Gill writes with an authenticity that leads you to forget that the people and events described are fictional. It’s pure magic. Song at Dawn is a romantic, brilliant, and compelling game of literary chess; a stunning network of moves and counter-moves weaved into every chapter. The plot and characters are wonderfully complex and alluring. Jean Gill is a marvelous writer and it would be a crime against humanity not to recommend her work to everyone I meet. Rest assured that I will absolutely be reviewing Book 2 in the series (Bladesong). For additional reviews please visit