In Book 2 of Jean Gill’s brilliantly written Troubadours Quartet Series, “Bladesong: 1151 in the Holy Land”, the author once again takes the reader into a long ago world of intrigue and romance. Gill’s ability to capture the essence of the time period borders on magic. With much of the story taking place in Damascus and Jerusalem, Gill creates the flavor of the Middle East with an incomparable skill. The sights and scents of post Crusade Damascus are rich throughout the segment. Bravely taking on the issues of homosexuality and drug addiction in a time when the subjects were virtually incomprehensible to the Europeans, “Oltra mar”, Gill is able to create a view of the time period that is rarely produced in literature.
Following the lives of her characters, Estela and Dragonetz, when they are separated, while maintaining the passions of their love, is a daunting challenge. Gill steps up and does so eloquently. Even as they encounter new characters, and face confrontations with familiar characters, the essence of their ardor is never lost. As they negotiate the daily challenges of their lives, their thoughts are often on one another, recognizing that time and distance may have cooled the desire of the other.
As usual Gill adds real historical people to her tale, effectively developing their personas and making them a believable addition to what is a riveting tale of political intrigue and white hot passion.
I highly recommend this lovely Second Book in the series as I eagerly await Book Three. It is obvious there are more adventures in store for Estela, Dragonetz, Nici, Gilles, Raoulf, and Txamusca.