The Viper

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The Viper

Highland Guard, #4

Monica McCarty brings historical Scotland to life with her latest installment of the Highland Guard novels. The Viper focuses on Lachlan "Viper" MacRuairi of Robert the Bruce's Highland Guard and Bella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan, the woman who defies everyone in order to crown Robert the Bruce. The price she will pay for doing so is unimaginable. This installment picks up in the beginning of Bella's desperate journey to place the crown on Robert the Bruce's head and follows through her peril and fight to reclaim her child and freedom.

What makes this novel so fascinating is the truths interwoven through the historical romance. Many of the happenings detailed in the book are written down in history as factual. It's this interweaving of fact and fiction that makes this such a great read. The factual Isabella MacDuff has gone down in history of one of Scotland's greatest heroines. Having raced to Scone to crown Robert the Bruce, she suffered mightily for her betrayal of the English King Edward I. What eventually became of the Countess of Buchan is unclear and that is what makes reading this historical romance so enjoyable. Ms. McCarty has created a possible happy ending for Isabella and leads our imaginations down a path of intrigue and possibilities that explore how history played out in Robert the Bruce taking on the English and uniting Scotland. Even Lachlan is based on a comingling of individuals that fought for Bruce during this time.

This book is well written, well researched and the characters both fascinating and realistic. Ms. McCarty has woven a historical tale filled with thrilling action and sexy romance. She's brought the bid for the crown to life as well as the sacrifices made to secure Scotland and Robert the Bruce's reign. Lachlan and Bella's romance set to the backdrop of war and intrigue is a thoroughly fulfilling read.

Book Blurb for The Viper

The war for Scotland’s sovereignty rages on—as Robert the Bruce is crowned king and the Highland Guard, his elite fighting force of legendary warriors, battle for land . . . and love.

Prized for his snakelike stealth and deadly strikes, Lachlan “Viper” MacRuairi is a warrior to enlist but not to trust. His only loyalty is to his purse, his indifference sealed by bitter betrayal. All that changes when Lachlan is tasked to protect and deliver Bella MacDuff to the king’s coronation—and the proud, lushly sensual countess unwittingly challenges him to his greatest battle yet: to love again.

Passionate and devoted, Bella has defied Britain’s king and her own husband to place the crown on Bruce’s head, and for this she pays a terrible price: Losing her daughter and her freedom to her husband’s vengeance. Imprisoned with barbaric cruelty, she vows to reclaim her child, even if it means selling her soul—and her body—to a dark, lethal warrior whose eyes glint like steel, but who makes her skin tingle and her breath race. Together they embark on a rogue mission with sinister twists and turns that threatens not only Bella’s gamble to save her daughter—but also her heart.

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2011 5.00