Midnight Honor

Midnight Honor

by Marsha Canham

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440235224
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/10/2001
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 4.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Marsha Canham has written eleven historical romances for Dell. She has received numerous writing awards and lives outside Toronto, Canada.

Read an Excerpt

Inverness, May 1746

The fear was like a blanket, smothering her. Having witnessed and survived the obscene terror of Culloden, Anne Farquharson Moy thought she could never be truly frightened again, yet there were times her heart pounded so violently in her chest, she thought it might explode. Her mouth was dry; her hands shook like those of a palsied old woman. The slimy stone walls of her cell seemed to be shrinking around her, closer each day, and the air was so thin and sour she had to pant to ease the pressure in her lungs. And then there were the sounds....

They were as bone-chilling and piercing as the screams that haunted her dreams day and night. She had watched the prince's army die on the blood-soaked moor at Culloden, had seen the rounds of grapeshot fired by the English ranks spray into the charging Highlanders and cut them down like the pins in a child's game of bowls. She had heard the dreadful, unimaginable agony of fathers cradling fallen sons, brothers dragging themselves on mangled limbs to die beside brothers. And she had heard their cries for mercy as the English completed the slaughter by stabbing and mutilating those wounded souls they found alive on the erstwhile field of honor.

The sounds she heard in her gaol cell were the soft, barely audible groans of a dying faith, of crushed pride, and of the utter, complete hopelessness that permeated the walls of the old stone courthouse in Inverness.

She was alone in her cell. Cumberland had called it a luxury, for there were easily a hundred half-starved men crowded into an area that normally held no more than twenty, some with festering wounds who were too weak or feverish to roll out of their own waste. An oatcake and small tin cup of water were the daily ration. Pleas and prayers went unheeded. The weak eventually grew too frail to squander their strength on such futile measures and simply died in silence. The stronger ones clung to their rage and sat huddled in dank corners, showing their defiance the only way they could: by continuing to live.

How, indeed, could they show any less courage than the tall and straight-backed Lady Anne Moy, who had spat her contempt in the porcine face of Butcher Cumberland with such magnificent defiance? He had come to the prison three times over the past six weeks offering to free her in exchange for giving king's evidence against the Jacobite leaders. All three times she had sent him away spluttering German oaths under his breath.

It was a heavy burden to carry on such slender shoulders, and Anne had come closer to accepting his offer on that third visit than she cared to admit. But he had made it in the open courtyard, below windows filled with the strained, haunted faces of the brave men who had already lost so much in a cause that had been doomed from the outset. If all she could do was give them this last shred of pride and honor to cling to, then it was little enough. It was also a sacrifice that grew pitifully smaller in importance with each day that passed, each hour that saw another rack of Jacobites hung for treason, each minute that brought the inevitability of her own death closer and closer.

Her once lustrous red hair was dull and matted with filth. Her skin was gray and the flesh had shrunk from her bones, leaving her body gaunt and always cold in spite of the spare blanket one of the kinder guards had smuggled through the bars. Deep purple smudges ringed her eyes, and her hands were stained black, her nails cracked and torn from repeatedly pulling herself up to the narrow window cut high in the cell wall.

She held one almost transparent hand up to the murky light and could not entirely stifle the sob that rose in her throat. She was so thin she could no longer wear the ring Angus had given her on their wedding day. It had fallen off one night, and she had become nearly frantic groping through the straw and filth that littered the floor until she had found it. That was the closest she had come to weeping since her arrest. The closest she had come to screaming out an oath to the devil himself if he would take her away from this place. She did not even know if Angus was alive or not.

Cumberland assured her that he was, miraculously clinging to a thread to be sure, yet Anne had no reason to believe him, certainly none to trust him. The royal toady had said himself that belly wounds were the quickest to mortify despite all the skills a surgeon could bring to bear.

Anne curled her fingers into a tight ball and pressed them against her lips.

A gleaming, fat tear squeezed between her lashes and streaked slowly down the length of her cheek to her chin. It hung there a moment, glistening like a liquefied diamond before a tremor shook it free and it dropped unnoticed among the other stains that darkened the bodice of her dress. The once lovely gown was filthy, the silk rendered colorless and torn in a dozen places. The layers of ruffled linen petticoats she had discarded after the first week of confinement now served as her bedding. Her cloak had gone to ease the fevered chills of another prisoner. Over the weeks, she had bartered her shoes, her gloves, even the tiny rosette buttons that had adorned her bodice for a taste of cheese or an extra crust of black bread.

When she had nothing left to trade, one of the Sassenach guards had suggested other ways of earning favors, but the first time he came into her cell at night, he left doubled over, his ballocks damn near kicked into his pockets.

She had expected him to come back, with friends, but she never saw his ugly face again, and one of the men in a nearby cell whispered a reassurance that she would not. No one would ever see him again for the insult he had paid to their valiant Colonel Anne.

They did not know that the cruelest insult had already been delivered by Cumberland himself. Nor did they know it had been Anne's own blade that had pierced her husband's belly.

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Midnight Honor 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lady Anne MacKintosh took it upon herself to raise her clan to fight for Prince Charles Stuart. Her men called her Colonel Anne. She had a petition that declared her the leader of Clan Chattan in her husband's absence. By her side rode her life long friend, Captain John. All Scotland knew him as The MacGillivray. John loved Anne with all his heart, but kept his distance because Anne loved her husband, Angus.

Angus Moy fought for the English. Only John knew why. Angus did it for immunity for Anne and his mother. Two men in love with the same Scottish Amazon, Wild Rhuad Annie. Both willing to die for her and probably will.

**** This is not Marsha Canham's best, but it is still a very good read. The author shows the love, hate, and anguish the people must have felt in that time of history. In my personal opinion, there was too much time spent on war strategies. However, I do not see how the story could have been told otherwise. After all, the main characters were in the thick of it all. The author did a marvelous job creating this one! ****
Guest More than 1 year ago
Angus Moy and wife Anne find themselves on opposing sides in this 18th century romance set in the months preceding Culloden, a battle where the Scots were defeated trying to restore Prince Charles to the throne. Marsha Canham has written a novel that shows that loyalties aren't always evidenced in terms of black and white but also in shades of gray. She poignantly depicts the choices a woman must make when she feels that her husband has betrayed her thereby causing her to have recurrent thought of a past love who is loyal to her cause. The battlefields seem to come alive in vivid detail. One can almost feel the pain of the soldiers as they struggle to survive on little sleep and less food while maintaining their honor on the battlefield. With a truly remarkable heroine and previously unsung hero, this book can do no wrong.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1745, the Moy clan is divided as its leader Angus fights for the English King while most of the Scots want to support Prince Charles. When his wife Anne overhears Angus¿ scorn of her to his English compatriots, she angrily agrees to lead the clan in the support of Charles. As battle after battle occur, and the war swings back and forth, Anne becomes a rallying point as Colonel Anne.

Just before battle, Angus sneaks into her camp and they make passionate love. In the battle, her side defeats Angus¿ side and he is held prisoner. He agrees to spy for the Scots and returns to the English during a prisoner exchange. Culloden is the next challenge to their love for one another.

Best-selling author Marsha Canham has accomplished the impossible by writing a fresh historical romance centering on the events leading to the battle of Culloden, and its aftermath. The tale works because the star-crossed lovers are used to enhance real events. The award winning Ms. Canham demonstrates once again why she is so popular. New readers will quickly be converted and search for previous tales like THE PRIDE OF LIONS, and THE BLOOD OF ROSES.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So many times I find an author I love, buy everything ever written by them, and half way through the stack discover the story lines are starting to become redundant and the characters go from ones you can relate to to just names on a page. Well, Marsha Canham isn't one of them. She's amazing and not once have I gotten to the end of one of her books and thought, "Well that was just slapped together to meet a deadline." She's got real unrelenting talent. Each of her novels is creative and NEW. The story lines aren't all the same and the characters are way more than the names on the page!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read close to 500 romance novels and this is definately in my top 10. Absolutely wonderful!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read the other 2 books in this series and enjoyed them. I especailly liked that there are common elements in all 3. This book is unique since our heroine, Anne, is in love with her husband Angus and faces temptation with John. I liked that the book did not follow the 'standard boy meets girl' romance formula seen in so many other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
-,- i didnt do anything to the Da.mn thing. -,-