Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King. But the fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen becomes the target of assassination attempts and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan, her world threatens to tear itself apart.
Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.
Mark Noce’s Between Two Fires explores the turbulent early days of Wales in the late sixth century through the eyes of the young woman with the weight of the country’s survival on her slim shoulders. Branwen is a strong, spirited heroine, and her first person, present tense narration adds a sense of immediacy to the story.
Noce’s voice is a unique one. His writing is detailed and descriptive, allowing the sweeping landscape of Wales, the social mores of the era, and the tumultuous, violent times to unfold seamlessly before the reader’s eyes. Political intrigue and passion are woven throughout the tale, and Branwen must wage battle on two sides: the Saxons from without, traitors from within.
A story of treachery, betrayal, love, and feminine resilience, Between Two Fires is in the midst of the adventure a coming of age story, following one young woman who grows from a pawn into a legend.