My Warrior by Glynnis Campbell
(Jove, $6.50, PG) ISBN 0-515-13153-9
***
My Warrior, the second book of the Knights of de Ware trilogy, is a beautifully written book, easy to read and peppered with bits of humor. Unfortunately, it is encumbered by the most annoying heroine Iíve come across in quite a while.

Laird Angus Gavin has tutored his daughter Cambria since she was a wee girl for her eventual succession as Laird of Blackhaugh. Instead of engaging in feminine occupations, Cambria has mastered such things as archery and sword fighting. Sheís more at home wearing chain mail than lovely gowns. When her father is murdered by English treachery, she is more than ready to step up to fight for Blackhaugh.

Lord Holden de Ware is one of the most feared knights in all of England, known as the Wolf - itís said heís never lost a battle. He has been sent to Blackhaugh to claim the Scottish castle for England. What he stumbles upon is chaos. A murdered laird, his men holding a motley group of Gavin knights in chains, and a defiant lass not the least afraid to stand up to him.

Cambria holds Holden responsible and decides to avenge her father singlehandedly. So begins a series of misadventures where Cambria does something unbelievably stupid and Holden extracts her from the trouble she winds up in...repeatedly.

Cambria tries to murder Holden, takes him hostage and nearly causes his death once more. Every time the poor man is in her presence, something hideously painful befalls him. I have no idea what Holden found so appealing about Cambria, but if I were him, Iíd have run in the opposite direction.

Well, Holdenís a better person than I, because he decides that marriage to Cambria is the answer. Under English rule, Cambria cannot be laird, but if she marries Holden, she could lead Blackhaugh with him.

Eventually Cambria comes to see what a good man Holden actually is and they begin to fall in love. When things are resolved and the book winds down to its logical conclusion, things suddenly go awry and for some unfathomable reason Holden suddenly flips out. By this time, Iím talking...aloud...to the characters. Never a good sign.

The reasons for the change in Holdenís character are explained, but his actions just seemed too extreme to justify. He was a perfect, larger-than-life hero up until that point.

On the other hand, Cambria is consistent throughout. Consistently annoying. She is immature, pigheaded, quick to anger and the type who acts without giving a thought to the consequence of her actions. Sheís the type of heroine I canít abide and if I hadnít been reading this book for review, I wouldnít have continued past the third chapter.

As I mentioned at the start, the writing here is exceptional. Itís the characters that caused me the most problems. If you arenít bothered by a headstrong heroine, you may find My Warrior more to your liking. Fans of the first book of the series, My Champion, may also want to give the book a try as the protaganists, Duncan and Linet, make appearances here, as well.

--Karen Lynch


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