Under the Approaching Dark

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
432 Pages
Reviewed on 03/31/2017
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Author Biography

Had Anna Belfrage been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does not exist, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing.
Presently, Anna is hard at work with The King’s Greatest Enemy, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power.

When Anna is not stuck in the 14th century, she's probably visiting in the 17th century, specifically with Alex(andra) and Matthew Graham, the protagonists of the acclaimed The Graham Saga. This is the story of two people who should never have met – not when she was born three centuries after him.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage is a spellbinding fiction story with powerful historical references, set in the turbulent England of the 1300s. The death of Hugh Despenser and the rise to power of King Edward III could have made Adam de Guirande hopeful that the country would soon gain stability. He couldn’t be more wrong! The young king has no experience and is manipulated by Queen Isabella, his mother, and her lover, Roger Mortimer. A darkness hovers over the land; there is a lot of intrigue, stabbings in the back, and imminent upheaval. It is in this context that the author explores the role of an unlikely hero, a man who has to balance his loyalties to serve his king, his wife, and his country.

I got hooked on Anna Belfrage’s writing when I read the first book in the King’s Greatest Enemy series, In the Shadow of the Storm, which features Adam de Guirande and explores the themes of rebellion and loyalty. In the third entry in the series, the author raises the stakes and explores the depths of the protagonist’s pain on new and refreshing levels. I enjoyed the excellent prose and the diction which reflects the culture and language of the time. The intrigue, the powerful conflict — both internal and external — as well as the quick pace of the plot and the depth of character development are aspects of the story that readers will adore. Under the Approaching Dark is for readers who love historical novels that are laced with intrigue and conflict, with compelling characters and a sophisticated plot. Anna Belfrage never disappoints.

Kathryn Bennett

Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage is the third book of the series and takes us into the volatile world of Edward II and the dark trials that engulf a nation. Edward II is forced to abdicate his throne in order for his young son to become the king. A young king whom many see as the hope for a bright new future while he is guided by the experienced hands of his council. However, this is 1327 and turmoil never really goes away during these dark times. The country is not ruled by its young king, but instead by a queen and her lover, and rebellion will follow them like a dark shadow on a bright day. Will Adam and his wife be able to escape the dangers they face in the turmoil of the land? Or will they fall into the darkness, never to be found again.

I have to start my full review by saying I have not read the first two books in this series, but I know the time period very well. This book was an interesting read and had my attention from the moment I started reading it, and I plan to go back and read the others. Sir Adam de Guirande and his wife Kit are a dynamic pair of characters that are well fleshed out and enjoyable to spend time with. They live in a time of turmoil and great historical people, but stand out boldly on their own. I could not imagine making some of the choices that Adam had to make in this book and I can only imagine what he went through in the earlier books. Yet you always root for him against all of the enemies and problems he comes up against, and Kit stands strong in her own right. Kit is an amazing woman who is smart and not afraid to use her brain in a time where women were typically seen as little more than livestock. Anna Belfrage has created an amazing group of characters with a fantastic story that fits into the frame of English history of the 14th century. If you love history and solid good characters that feel like they could jump off the page and say hello, this is a read for you.

Ruffina Oserio

Anna Belfrage’s Under the Approaching Dark is the third book in The King’s Greatest Enemy series, a historical fiction that explores the hopes and perils of an unusual hero, Adam de Guirande. In book one, the author explores the question of loyalty, presenting a powerful dilemma in which the protagonist finds himself. Readers find the protagonist in a similar situation in this installment, with deepened conflict. It is England in the first months of 1327, and after the death of the powerful Hugh Despenser and the enthronement of King Edward III, Adam begins to think that things could get better. But it’s just the beginning of another nightmare and the country could be headed for more trouble than it has ever experienced. The country is, in fact, governed by the king’s mother and her lover, Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer, because of the young king’s lack of experience. Again, the protagonist is faced with the choice of loyalty, and it isn’t easy.

Those who have read any books by Anna Belfrage must already know that she is a mistress of the writing craft, gifted with the skill to recreate history and make her readers part of it by creating characters from another era who are very believable and memorable. The setting is wonderfully crafted with exceptional historical references that will surprise readers. I enjoyed the way the author handled the conflict and how it drives the plot. The writing is impeccable and it reflects the setting and English society of the time, so readers are left in no doubt that the author does her research and unearths powerful elements with which to embellish her story. Under the Approaching Dark is a not-so-easy-to-put-down novel, the work of a master. It is entertaining and delightful at the same time and readers will easily relate to the characters.