Dark Age Maiden by Tom Molnar
Published by Apple Valley Press
This historical novel is set in the early 700s in southern France, and features Carina, the Dark Age Maiden of the title. She lives with her father and family in a small settlement which is overshadowed by the threat of the invading Muslim forces, which are led by Abd-er-Rahman.
When the settlement is put under siege by the attackers, Carina escapes and travels to Nice to enlist the help of Count Giancarlo, a friend of her father, who she hopes will bring his army to defeat the invaders and free her people. On her journey, she meets with Uberto and two of his friends, who are also heading towards Nice, and he escorts her to her destination.
Upon hearing Carina’s news about his old friend Tiberio’s dilemma, Count Giancarlo organizes his knights and prepares to go into battle. Uberto and his friends join forces with them and they all set out the following day, intent on liberating Tiberio and his people from the attackers. They are successful in their quest and they all remain to help fortify the settlement and prepare for any further attacks. During this time, Carina is romantically drawn to both Giancarlo and Uberto, and is unable to decide which she would prefer to marry.
Sometime later, news comes that the city of Nice is being attacked and Giancarlo and his troops must return to save their people. The threat is repelled but many weeks pass before Giancarlo can return and try to claim the hand of Carina. Their marriage is agreed and the wedding arranged in Nice, and family, friends and villagers move en masse to celebrate the nuptials. A dramatic turn of events causes disruption to the wedding day and all their lives are turned upside down in a thrilling finale to the book.
An entertaining and informative novel, which was well written and researched.