Review: Son of the Morning by Linda Howard

A scholar specializing in ancient manuscripts, Grace St. John never imagined that a cache of old documents she discovered was the missing link to a lost Celtic treasure. But as soon as she deciphers the legend of the Knights of the Templar—long fabled to hold the key to unlimited power—Grace becomes the target of a ruthless killer bent on abusing the coveted force. Determined to stop him, Grace needs the help of a warrior bound by duty to uphold the Templar's secret for all eternity. But to find him—and to save herself—she must go back in fourteenth-century Scotland...and to Black Niall, a fierce man of dark fury and raw, unbridled desire...

Grace is having problems with her modem (it’s 1996 so think dial up. :) ) so she heads over to a friends house to have it looked at. When she’s returning to her house she sees someone in the window that is neither her husband nor brother and when she gets closer she hears her boss, Parrish Sawyer, talking to her family. It seems he’s looking for her and the papers she’s been translating but instead of asking for them he’s threatening her husband and brother. What Grace witnesses next is earth shattering. Her husband and brother are murdered before her eyes and they make it look like she killed them in a jealous rage. Grace is then on the run to try and save herself as she knows that if Parrish finds her and the papers she’ll be dead too.

Grace is basically a paper pusher so being a fugitive is something she never thought would happen to her. She’s pretty clever though and between her intelligence and probably sheer dumb luck she manages to avoid being captured by Parrish’s goons. She takes the time to research the papers as well as take care of herself and learn to fight if need be. What she concentrates on most is Niall of Scotland. He was a Knight of the Templar and even though most were slain he remained and was Guardian of the Treasure. He’s mentioned in the paper many times and Grace feels a pull to him that she can’t explain. She dreams about him and when she does it’s like she’s with him in person and that it’s real – but it can’t be as he’s 675 years in the past. When she dreams of Niall, most of the time, it’s a sexual situation and she feels horrible when she wakes up because she feels as if she’s betrayed her husband.

As the months go on Grace realizes that the Foundation that she worked for, that is run by Parrish, is evil. They want the Treasure and will stop at nothing to get it. When Grace comes across a formula in the papers that states how to travel through time she realizes that she needs to go back to speak with Niall so that he can stop Parrish.

I have to admit that while I’ve loved the Linda Howard books that I’ve read so far I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this one. Linda Howard does time travel? Medieval Knights? Really? I have to say I had my doubts but I was, however, proven So. Very. Wrong. Seriously wrong. This book is all that and a bag of chips.

In this story Howard manages to combine a contemporary murder mystery and time travel romance all in one and does it in a way that entrances the reader. I was 100% into the book the entire time I was reading. I even texted Holly (she's the one I borrowed the book from) and told her I hated her because I wanted to skip work so that I could go home and read! lol (FYI - I didn't leave work) This is just one of those books that you don’t want to put down.

Grace was not one of those average women who is secretly a kick-ass heroine. She was a pretty average woman who was intelligent enough to learn how to protect herself out of desperation. She obviously didn’t want Parrish and his men to catch her and she certainly didn’t want the cops getting a hold of her so she learned what she needed to in order to survive. Howard does an incredible job of showing us Grace's emotions and her despair over losing her husband and brother. My heart ached for Grace and all she had lost.

The romance in this story is very unusual as both Grace and Niall are experiencing each other in a way that they think is all fantasy. Neither of them realize that it’s happening to the other…until Grace decides to time travel. Niall is exactly what she dreamed but he thinks she’s a spy for a enemy clan and though he’s drawn to her he won’t get any closer. Niall’s a huge, mean ass warrior who is rarely bested but with Grace, even when he was pissed at her, he’s gentle and loving. I loved seeing the two of them together even with the secrets between them.

I could go on and on about the story but I have to stop myself from telling you everything! Let me just say that if you haven’t read this book you should. It’s a wonderful story that is well written (do we expect anything else from Howard?) and incredibly compelling. Just an excellent read.  I will go out to buy my own copy as soon as I can because this is a book that I will definitely be rereading.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Linda Howard


Hilcia said...

Tracy, this is my absolute, #1, favorite book by Linda Howard. (So far because I haven't finished reading her backlist). I love it!

I always thought that this story was all about Grace and that Howard did an amazing job with her characterization. And Black Niall? Well... I think I had a secret crush on him for years, lol!

A lovely review, Tracy.

Holly said...

I, too, think of this less as a romance and more as Grace's personal journey. Though she's an average woman, her strength and determination come through loud and clear. I love that she's strong enough to continue to fight, but still extremely vulnerable. As you say, she isn't secretly a kickass superhero. She's just a woman acting out of desperation.

I'm so glad you enjoyed it (not that I expected anything less).

Rowena said...

Man, it's been ages since I've read this book but I'm thinking after reading this review that I'm going to have to dig through my books and find it.

Tracy said...

Hilcia - I have many of Howard's books left to read but this is definitely my favorite so far.

Holly - I bow to you. :)

Wena - Find it and reread it. I'm thinking of rereadeing it NOW and I just finished it for the first time. lol

Leslie said...

One of my favorites of Howard's. It's a story that stays with you even years later. Very emotional. Definitely worth a re-read.

Lil said...

This book was one of the ones that inspired me to search out more stories in romantic suspense, and paranormal romance. Previous to reading it, I was mostly reading historical romance.

There have been many great books from this author but two others I particularly loved were Diamond Bay, and Midnight Rainbow. Suspenseful, contemporary reads.