13 June 2010

Guest Author: Margaret Mallory

This week on Unusual Historicals we're welcoming back contributor Margaret Mallory as she celebrates the release of KNIGHT OF PASSION, the third of her "All the King's Men" trilogy from Grand Central. Here's the blurb:

Can This Passionate Knight...

Renowned beauty Lady Linnet is torn between two desires: revenge on those who destroyed her family or marriage to her childhood sweetheart Sir James Rayburn. One fateful night, she makes a misguided choice: she sacrifices Jamie's love for a chance at vengeance.

Trust A Beauty with a Past?

Jamie Rayburn returns to England in search of a virtuous wife--only to find the lovely Linnet as bewitching as ever. Their reckless affair ignites anew, even hotter than before, although Jamie vows to never again trust her with his heart. Just as Linnet begins to make amends, she's tempted by one last opportunity to settle old scores. But a final retribution could cost her Jamie's love--this time forever.

★ ★ ★ ★ ½ TOP PICK! "Mallory raises the genre to new levels." ~ RT Book Reviews

"[A]n amazing story...filled with sexual tension and hot romance, as well as adventure with a fascinating historical background." ~ Romance Reviews Today


Can you tell us a bit about the historical backdrop for your new release, KNIGHT OF PASSION?

KNIGHT OF PASSION is the third book in my medieval trilogy, "All the King's Men." The "King" in the series title is Henry V. The first book, KNIGHT OF DESIRE, takes place during the last Great Welsh Rebellion, when Henry V is still Prince Harry. In the second book, KNIGHT OF PLEASURE, he is in his glory days as King Henry V and "re-conquering" Normandy.

Alas, the great king is dead in this third book, KNIGHT OF PASSION. The royal family is squabbling over control of the kingdom, and--oh my--the young widowed queen is having an affair with her lowly Clerk of the Wardrobe!

I had great fun including a number of real historical figures as secondary characters in this book. (See my earlier posts on Royalty and Witches, Owen Tudor and Katherine de Valois, and the Lancasters.)

So tell us a little about your hero and heroine.

Sir James Rayburn is a warrior and an honorable knight. Poor man. First, I give him a heroine who won't let him do the right thing by her. And then, I throw him into the middle of palace intrigue and royal infighting, when he'd prefer a good clean battle.

Five years after Linnet lacerated Jamie's heart and pride, he's come home to England set on finding a quiet, biddable wife who won't cause trouble--or stir his passions too much. Left to his own devices, Jamie is headed for a safe, tedious life.

Linnet is a rule-breaker. She was raised in the merchant class by an indulgent grandfather--with no mother to tell her all the things she shouldn't do. For the last five years, she has devoted herself to seeking vengeance against the men who destroyed her beloved grandfather and turned her and her brother out to fend for themselves. Losing Jamie along the way is her one regret.

When she meets Jamie again in London, she is on the final--and most dangerous--leg of her quest for justice. If Jamie gives her a second chance, which will she choose this time--love or vengeance?

Do you have a favorite scene?

I don't have a favorite scene, but I love the Prologue because it shows Jamie before he is hardened, when he is young and wears his heart on his sleeve. There is also a scene I like a lot at the end of chapter one when Jamie is on his knees before the Queen and Linnet comes in. In it, Jamie feels like Humphrey Bogart did in Casa Blanca when Bogart says, "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she had to walk into mine."

What's next?

I'm off to the Highlands! I'm writing a 4-book Scottish series that takes place on the Isle of Skye in 1513. After hearing of a disastrous Scottish loss to Henry VIII's forces, four young Highlanders return from France to help their clan through the perilous times ahead. The four are willing to give their lives for their clan, but taking wives to further their clan's interests is another matter altogether...

Thanks for telling us about your new release, KNIGHT OF PASSION!

I'd love to respond to comments! I will give an autographed copy of KNIGHT OF PASSION to one of the commenters. And for an audio interview where I discuss "All the King's Men," right click here to download the MP3!


You heard the nice lady! Leave a comment or question for Margaret for your chance to win a signed copy of KNIGHT OF PASSION. I'll draw the winner at random on Sunday in one week. Void where prohibited. Best of luck!