Family Strife Imperils the Realm
Francia, 783: Haunted by the Saxons’ attack on her home fortress, Fastrada obeys her father and marries Charles, king of the Franks and a widower with seven children and an eighth on the way by a concubine. As more wars loom, Fastrada’s greatest peril lurks within the castle walls: Pepin, Charles’s son by his embittered former wife. Blaming his father for the curse that twisted his spine, Pepin rejects a prize archbishopric and plots with his uncle and mother to seize the throne. Can Fastrada stop the conspiracy before it destroys the kingdom?
Based on historic events during Charlemagne’s reign, "Queen of the Darkest Hour" is the story of a family conflict endangering an entire country—and the price to save it.
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About the Author
Kim Rendfeld has a lifelong fascination with fairy tales and legends, which set her on her quest to write "The Cross and the Dragon" and its companion, "The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar." She grew up in New Jersey and attended Indiana University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and English, with a minor in French. If it weren't for feminism, she would be one of those junior high English teachers scaring the bejesus out of her students, correcting grammar to the point of obnoxiousness. Instead, her career has been in journalism, public relations, and fiction. Kim was a journalist for almost twenty years at Indiana newspapers and won several awards from the Hoosier State Press Association. Her career changed in 2007, when she joined the marketing and communications team at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She is proud to have been part of projects that have received national recognition. She lives in Indiana with her husband, Randy, and their spoiled cat. She and Randy have a daughter and four grandchildren. Kim opines about the craft of writing and history at her blog, Outtakes of a Historical Novelist, at kimrendfeld.wordpress.com, and she is a contributor to the blogs Unusual Historicals (unusualhistoricals.blogspot.com) and English Historical Fiction Authors (englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In this fascinating and vivid portrait of the Carolingian court, the young queen Fastrada is the brightest star, but the other characters - the royal children, the courtiers, the conspirators, the servants, and Charlemagne himself - are also deftly depicted. While we watch Fastrada grow from an insecure adolescent into a true queen, we also absorb the complex power struggles and subtle influences that can make a royal court a precarious place to be. Charlemagne's reign is something we don't often see in fiction, but it was a profoundly significant period in European history, and the author brings it to life in all its splendor and savagery. Fastrada, who is courageous, honorable, and loving, makes the reader cheer for her as she tries to protect her family and her kingdom. She is a worthy partner to her king and husband, and we watch her take an active role in government and politics. Fastrada's nemesis, Charlemagne's young and bitter son Pepin, has all the dangerous brittleness of any self-centered young man convinced he's being treated unfairly. We know the type all too well from today's news reports. Almost the same age as his stepmother, he yearns for prizes that are out of his reach, and for revenge. The warm relationship between Charlemagne and Fastrada, one of affection and mutual respect, is one of the most enjoyable aspects of this compelling book. Highly recommended!