What Is a Knight?

What is a knight? Most of us picture a man clad in heavy armor, similar to this:

Knights

But, as with many things, our general perception doesn’t encapsulate the entire truth.

I did a bit of research on historical knights so I’d know what they were and could borrow from reality and legend to create the knights in my own work.

In reality, a knight was usually a mounted soldier serving under a feudal lord in Europe. The concept of what a knight was would come to mean men, usually of noble birth (but not required), who would be apprenticed as first a page and then a squire.

During this apprenticeship, they were taught all of the skills necessary to be a skilled fighter, as well as religion, reading and writing, and social decorum. They’d then be given the military rank of knight and be bound to the code of chivalry.

This code of chivalry was enacted partially to control behavior. Because history has taught us how well behaved soldiers can be. See also, Vikings.

vikings
They’d terrorized much of Europe, so yeah, chivalry had its reasons.

Unlike many other titles (duke, baron, etc.), knighthood was not hereditary. It was given to a person by a sovereign because of personal merit or service. This means that it was easier for men who were good at being soldiers to move up in rank. It also meant you never had a six-year-old knight. Unlike some kings. And helped reduce the crazy, unlike in kings.

Knights were an important part of feudal system established by Charlemagne. Under this system, the king owned all of the land, and he granted fiefs to various lords in return for loyalty, protection and service.

In order to provide this protection, the knight class was created. Many knights were professional warriors, and the lord they served paid them for the services, and provided food, lodging, armor, weapons and horses.

Knighthood was a way for a man to advance in a society that offered few other means. As it also wasn’t an inherited position, it was a way for a younger son of a lord to advance himself. Knights could make fortunes from their service, and they could be granted land from the king and become a lord in their own right.

While many of us think of Knights of the Round Table when we think of knights.

kingarthur.jpg
Okay, maybe not this King Arthur.

In reality, knights were experienced mounted soldiers. They were also supposed to have a firm grounding in religion, among other things, but the reality was knights were about as religious as any other general order of soldiers.

Stories of knights have been told for a very long time. I think it somewhat relates to the legends of King Arthur, but I also think seeing men riding in armor on horseback left a strong impression. It was story worthy.

 

How about you? What do you think of when you think of knights? Maybe Sir Lancelot or Sir Galahad from King Arthur’s court? Ser Bronn from Game of Thrones? Sir El Cid of Spain? Or maybe you think of something all together different?

Book Review: Militess and Mage by Monica Enderle Pierce

Book: Militess and Mage

Author: Monica Enderle Pierce

Series: The Shadow & The Sun (book 1)

Rating: 5/5

Excellent fantasy novel. If you’re looking for a romance novel, this may not be for you. It’s really more of a fantasy story with a romance running through it.

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Starting with the cons, as there are so few.

Cons

  1. There are almost no steamy scenes, and the few that are there are forgettable. Again, this is more of a fantasy story.

 

If you’re good with the one sorta con, I highly recommend giving this book a read.

Pros

  1. The story has an excellent plot that moves along well, especially coming into its own once there’s a bit of trust between the characters.
  2. I love that they’re not “in love” or even “in lust” with each other at first sight. This attraction grows along with their trust. The sparring back and forth started to drag a touch in the beginning, but the author soon got the characters working together by moving the plot along.
  3. The characters sing. I love their strength and their vulnerability. They both made sacrifices, sometimes unwillingly, for their power. It’s clear both earned their standing even if they were born into privilege. The Mage suffered under a cruel master and the warrior suffered the social stigma of being a bastard.
  4. Both the hero and heroine are very powerful, but so is the villain they are up against, and their power has reasonable limits. This adds to the tension as victory is never guaranteed and there are a lot of close calls along the way.
  5. Once the plot really starts moving, it’s fast and furious and you get swept along for the ride.
  6. I *love* that heroine starts out strong and ends strong. She is never weakened for the story. She doesn’t have to go from warrior to damsel to make the story work. I loved that she was physically scarred and unrepentant about it. She took lovers as she chose. Yes! A true warrior that happened to be a woman instead of a “female warrior”.

Book Review: Deliver Me from Darkness by Tes Hilaire (Book 1 of Paladin Warriors)

Book: Deliver Me From Darkness

Author: Tes Hilaire

Rating: 1/5 Stars

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I preface this review with the fact I read the name of the series Paladin Warriors, and was *squee* Paladins! I love knights and dragons, swords and sorcery. Bring it on!!

I read a bit further to see that the author’s take on Paladins was angels from The One God that had chosen to come to earth to fight Lucifer’s minions. *double squee*

Oh wait, the hero is a vampire. Still a Paladin, but somehow a vampire was able to turn a holy being. Hmmm, probably a bit of story there, hopefully a good story . . . Still hoping for the Paladin parts to be really good even if they’re not as powerful as I would’ve thought.

IF you are a huge fan of vampire romance, this might be your cup of tea. If you are looking for Holy Paladins, Guardians of the Light, and Knights in Shining armor, this story isn’t for you.

Pros

  1. Steamy scenes were pretty good.
  2. The background characters were amazing. I *loved* Logan, I liked Vallin by the end, and Alexander was also cool. Gabby was wonderful, and Christos easy to hate.

Cons

  1. Flashback scenes were jarring and didn’t actually help with the story. As a matter of fact, they were a tad confusing.
  2. The Paladins are NOT *Paladins* They are rapists. To force yourself on someone, to forcibly “mark” them against their will, a mark that will bare their thoughts and feelings as well?!? Really? And every one of them was ready to forcibly mark Karissa because she was the last female paladin? Really? Maybe their order deserves to go extinct. Not sure what separates them from the Darkness. Why would the Light even allow this forcible marking? Shouldn’t the Light demand consent or smite the Paladin doing the marking?
  3. By the way, why were there no other female Paladins? Low birth rate, but why a low birth rate? And how did the ones that birthed the rapey paladins all manage to die? Book never does a great job explaining it. From some of the flashback scenes, seems like all the women were together for some reason and the forces of darkness pounced. I hope to hell that wasn’t the reason. Those ladies should’ve lit the forces of darkness up and taught them what it means to mess with a celestial being. But, you know, there were no big strong men around to protect them. *gag*
  4. The plot was weak. It appeared to be: everyone wants Karissa. Whether to forcibly subject her, as per the Paladins, or for her blood, as per Lucifer and gang. No idea why Lucifer wants her blood, and he gets it, so he wins.Not really the ending I was expecting in a Romance novel. Yeah, the hero and heroine also survive, but I don’t expect the bad guys to get what they want.
  5. I didn’t like the heroine from the beginning and never came around to liking her. Might be the temper tantrums. Might be everyone saying how powerful she is and then her constantly being a damsel in distress. She doesn’t do much of anything to save herself other than run away. Which, yeah, can be viable strategy, but then get the heck away! Quick synopsis of her story:
    • Captured and brought to Roland.
    • Sorta willingly taken to Haven with all the rapey Paladins, but then goes unconscious because of reasons and is imprisoned in a bedroom. I rolled my eyes when she simply walks out of Haven (who was guarding their most precious victim?). In the middle of the night. And doesn’t notice it’s still night until the door closes behind her. Right.
    • Good thing there’s a rapey Paladin that catches her and who’s about to force himself on her but has to stop so he can save her from a couple vampires and demons.
    • Good thing the vampire Paladin gets there in time to save her from the other Paladin . . . ‘Cause, you know, she’s so powerful . . .
    • The fact that later in the story she leaves the cabin when her vampire Paladin can’t, after she was told not to . . . Are you surprised she’d abducted (again)?
    • She’s taken to the coal mines where she’s drained of blood and tortured . . . in a romance novel . . .
  6. Serious damsel in distress. And I have no idea why she’s considered so powerful, or why an author has torture in a Romance novel. All I can come up with was that the author desperately wanted her to be vampire by the end rather than Rolland being redeemed to the Light and returning as a full Paladin (which is the Happily Ever After ending I was expecting a la the Circle Trilogy from Nora Roberts – great trilogy, by the way.).
  7. Karissa has no real growth or development, either. In the last scene, she is being all squeamish over helping dissolve the remains of a really bad guy and ewww, she can’t touch it. Even though there are Paladins (granted rapey ones) fighting all round her, risking their lives, to save her.

 

I opened the book wanting to love the Paladins, ready to love them, in fact. I came to hate them (except for Logan). The vampire ended up being the best of the lot (surprise twist, Logan ends up being Karissa’s brother, so no super nice guy for her!), and I kept hoping for there to be something that redeems the vampire Paladin and brings him to the light. Yeah, no.

He is still a vampire at the end, and now, so is she. No happily ever after for me. Looks like the end of the line for the Paladins as she was the last female one of them and now she’s undead. Not sure that’s entirely bad, given their propensity to not require consent.

Not a book I remotely recommend, but if you do read it, don’t get too caught up in the Paladin Warriors title.