The Perfect Fire trilogy continues after Raimon escapes the pyre and heads into hiding deep within the mountains of the Occitan. Although he longs to follow Yolanda to Paris where she has been forced to marry Sir Hugh, he must fulfill his duty of protecting the Blue Flame to save their beloved country from the advancing forces set on destroying it. Meanwhile, Sir Hugh must find a way to carry out his king's wishes without ruining his chance to win Yolanda's heart. The action, suspense, and romance continue as K. ...
The Perfect Fire trilogy continues after Raimon escapes the pyre and heads into hiding deep within the mountains of the Occitan. Although he longs to follow Yolanda to Paris where she has been forced to marry Sir Hugh, he must fulfill his duty of protecting the Blue Flame to save their beloved country from the advancing forces set on destroying it. Meanwhile, Sir Hugh must find a way to carry out his king's wishes without ruining his chance to win Yolanda's heart. The action, suspense, and romance continue as K. M. Grant weaves a complex and satisfying romantic triangle amidst the chaos of war. Can Yolanda and Raimon's love survive the ravages of a siege, her forced betrothal, and the
growing divisions within their beloved home?
Gr 7–10—This sequel to Blue Flame (Walker, 2008) begins in 13th-century France with Raimon barricaded in the mountains. The weather is miserably hot, and he and his people are starving. Meanwhile Yolanda, believing Raimon is dead, has been taken to Paris as the unwilling fiancée of Sir Hugh. When she learns that Raimon is still alive, she tries to find a way to return and help save the Blue Flame and the Occitan from the French king. The story is written from the point of view of the Amouroix, a county in the Occitan. This unusual narrator directly addresses readers, and as a result the writing is slightly self-conscious. There are also some inconsistencies, such as a gagged character who is suddenly able to speak. Despite these flaws, this is a much better book than the first. Grant clearly has a gift for description and uses phrases such as "black-toothed acres of mirth" as an image of laughing soldiers. There is also more character development in minor characters such as Sir Hugh, which creates some ambivalence about which side is in the right. The real treasure in this book is a wonderful new character: Laila. This smart-mouthed, kleptomaniac servant with dyed hair and painted skin becomes Yolanda's unexpected ally and friend. Fans of the first book will enjoy the nonstop action and the historical content of this book and will be anxious to get their hands on the final volume of this trilogy.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Plot advancement defers to character development in this sequel set during the 13th-century Albigensian crusade. Raimon the weaver's son, rescued from the heretics' pyre, retreats with other desperate refugees as his true love Yolanda is carried off to Paris, betrothed to another. Much to-ing and fro-ing ensues as Yolanda tries to escape, and Raimon battles attempts to claim the holy Blue Flame for either the Catholic or Cathar side. In the end, both lose everything that they thought most important but are filled with a renewed commitment to Occitanian independence and to each other. While competently crafted, this trilogy lacks any special merit to stand out amid the current glut of Cathar fiction. It wears its research lightly, relying upon well-chosen details to convey the flavor of medieval life. The antagonists are given complex and sympathetic portrayals, while the heroes struggle as much with their own flaws as with the forces opposing them. Alas, this volume continues the twee conceit of making the land itself the narrator and forces several unlikely coincidences to move the story along. Purchase where the first volume is popular. (Historical fiction. 12-16)
- Margaret Orto
Set in thirteenth century medieval Europe during turbulent times this second title in the "Perfect Fire Trilogy" continues the story of Raimon and Yolanda, two young lovers from the Occitan, in what is today part of France. It also introduces Laila, a clever beggar girl, and her dog, Ugly, whom Yolanda befriends when she finds herself in Paris rather than in her beloved Occitania. She has been betrayed by her brother Aimery and trapped into marriage with a French knight. Laila is a delightful addition to this story and provides a perfect counterpoint to Yolanda's idealism with her contrasting hard-scrabble worldview. At the onset of this story, Raimon, who has narrowly escaped burning as a heretic at the end of the first book, heads for the Occitanian hills with a motley group of followers. He hides the legendary Blue Flame from the French king who is on his way to conquer the area. To further complicate things, the Catholics and Cathars of this region who had formerly lived peaceably together no longer can coexist because of the arrival of Catholic inquisitors as well as a Cathar Perfectus. The story is narrated by the fictitious Amouroix, described as "a small county in the larger Occitan." The device of a land mass as narrator seems cumbersome but, in actuality, adds another interesting dimension to this intelligent novel that is written with refreshingly good language. Religious tolerance, justice, and friendship are among the themes found in this book that spans several genres including adventure, fantasy, historical fiction, and romance. The cover image of the American edition, unfortunately, only speaks to the romantic element and may be a turn off to those readers drawn to a different genre. Nonetheless, this is an engrossing story for high-level readers of any of the above mentioned genres. Reviewer: Margaret Orto
- Nancy K. Wallace
In the second book of the Perfect Fire trilogy, Yolanda, believing Raimon has been executed for heresy, is betrothed to Hugh des Arcis and taken to Paris to await her marriage. Raimon, who has escaped, hides in the mountains of the Amouroix with a few followers, guarding the Blue Flame. After her forced marriage, Yolanda learns that Raimon is still alive and follows Hugh to the Amouroix when he orchestrates Raimon's surrender of the Flame. Hugh designates Yolanda and Raimon to return the Flame to King Louis but they are captured by thieves and the Flame is stolen. Hugh rescues them, nearly dying to save Raimon's life. When the Flame is not returned, King Louis orders all of the Occitan, including the Amouroix, to be burned in retribution. Raimon leaves Yolanda to tend her husband's wounds and sets out to reclaim the Flame. As she did in the De Granville Trilogy, Grant expertly weaves fact and fiction into a story of unrequited love. The well-researched historical backdrop adds realism and authenticity. Even though circumstances conspire to separate them, Yolanda and Raimon never give up hope that one day they will be reunited. Hugh, who could easily have become the villain, behaves kindly and honorably toward both Raimon and Yolanda. "Wouldn't everything be so much easier if Hugh was a monster?" she asks Raimon. "If we didn't live in these awful times, we might all have been friends." Using the Amouroix as the narrator adds the only jarring note, making some portions feel forced and awkward. Reviewer: Nancy K. Wallace
- Derrik Parker
Blue Flame is a rollercoaster of thrills. The plot intelligently combines romance and classic medieval adventure. As you read, the story comes alive and seduces you to keep reading until the book is finished. The love triangle between Yolanda, Hugh des Arcis, and Ramion adds an unexpected twist to the story. Reviewer: Derrik Parker, Teen Reviewer
K. M. Grant is the author of the much acclaimed de Granville trilogy and How the Hangman Lost His Heart, based on her own ancestor who was the last man in England to be hung, drawn and quartered. Blue Flame is the first novel in her new trilogy, The Perfect Fire. She lives in Scotland and works as a writer and broadcaster.
K. M. GRANT is the author of the acclaimed de Granville trilogy, the Perfect Fire trilogy, and How the Hangman Lost His Heart. She lives in Scotland and works as a writer and broadcaster. www.kmgrant.org