In this medieval romance penned by Samantha Holt, a dark knight finds redemption through the power of love, in a romantic tale that I found had an almost fable like quality.
In The Angel’s Assassin, Nicholas, a hardened mercenary knight, is employed by Lord Benedict. He is tasked with taking his niece Annabel, under the pretext of protecting her from rebels, from her home at Castle Alderweald, and return her to Benedict’s abode. Once there, he is to guard her until he receives word from his employer to return her to Alderweald, ensuring that she then meets with a fatal accident. In the intervening time Lord Benedict will persuade the king, Williams Rufus, that Annabel is a traitor, thus paving the way for him to inherit Alderweald, without suspicion falling on him. Nicholas has not killed a woman before, but accepts the task. When he reaches Alderweald Castle it is already under siege from the rebels. Nicholas therefore easily persuades the terrified young woman that he has been sent by her uncle to bring her to safety, and they escape on foot into the adjacent forest.
Nicholas has never met a woman like Annabel, whom he finds angelic, almost fey like in her appearance and he fights his attraction knowing what he must do. Annabel in turn is grateful to her rescuer, seeing him as a brave and honourable man. Forced into close proximity a strong attraction develops into something far deeper. Yet will Nicholas fulfil his contract? What will Annabel do if she finds out his real motives for rescuing her? Annabel’s evil uncle will go to any ends necessary to claim Alderweald, even if Nicholas decides to leave his contract unfulfilled. The remaining plot contains some sweet and hot love making scenes, deceit, violence, betrayal and redemption.
Nicholas, a lonely man, has accumulated wealth due to his misdeeds but he sees no joy in life until Annabel. He is awed by her blind trust in him as her saviour, but also her kindness and intelligence. I loved the way she seems to mesmerise and bewitch him. Annabel has had no experience of men outside her own family. She is immediately grateful to her mysterious and taciturn rescuer and little by little she breaches his defences, finding out as much as she can about him. She knows that he is not unaffected by her presence and finds him equally attractive.
I found the tale to be a sweet romance with likeable central characters. I love a dark hero and was praying for his redemption and a HEA throughout. Much of the plot centred on the couples’ growing attraction towards each other, the conflict coming from Nicholas’ own feelings of self loathing and from the machinations of Lord Benedict. I found that Annabel was not your typical Medieval heroine, as she succumbed to the physical side of their relationship more easily than perhaps a lady would have done at the time. However, she is portrayed as a character who knows her own mind and I think that any woman faced with a hero such as Nicholas would have acted the same way! I enjoy Samantha Holt’s writing style, which enables the reader to get into the head of her characters and transports them into another time and place. If you like medieval romances I can also recommend her novel A Crimson Castle.