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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
"Dark Deceit" is the first in the upcoming 'Anarchy Triology' and it begins in Gloucestershire, England, in 1141 as King Stephen has been captured and is being held in chains in Bristol Keep. The central character Geoffrey de Mortagne and his men come upon a knight being viciously attacked. The knight, Lord Raymond de Bellac, dies of his wounds at a local monastery after Geoffrey attempts to save him at the scene of his attack. Alleyne, Lord Raymond's daughter, fears the worst when Geoffrey and his men arrive at Bellac Manor with only Lord Raymond's horse. Alleyne grieves at her father's death and then summons Will D'Argues, Geoffrey's longtime friend and rival. Geoffrey goes on his way, but returns to Bellac Manor when his aid Ancel shows up with wounds and Alleyne's personal maid Elvire goes off to summon help and never reappears. It is time for Geoffrey to rescue Alleyne and take her to his home in France where she'll be safer. Is it from Will that Geoffrey is rescuing Alleyne? Is Geoffrey's friend really the enemy?
"Dark Deceit" covers a period in English history that should be covered more in works of historical fiction. Before England was united under the Plantagenets, assorted royals battled rather bloodily for the English crown. Geoffrey de Montagne is a fascinating central character as are Alleyne, Will, and all the other characters in this excellent beginning of what promises to be a first-rate series. "Dark Deceit" is well-written and well-edited, and its plot flows believably to the end. Readers of historical fiction will love every page of this exciting story.