Spoilers ahead, but not everything! ;-)
I think this is one of Linda Howard's best, perhaps because it is quite different from her other titles. The romance is usually the main plot in her novels; in this case the romance was really secondary to the suspense plot and the character development is much deeper than most of Howard's stories. Grace starts of as a plump scholar, fond sister, and loving wife in a comfortable marriage to her husband who is not only her lover but also her dearest friend. They are all involved with archaeology and study of history working for the Foundation. When Grace begins to study some recently discovered documents regarding the Templars, it triggers swift and terrible repercussions that force Grace to flee for her life.
The next section of the book involves Grace's character development as she deals with grief and her activities in learning how to hide from authority as she stays on the run. She goes from suburbia to life off the radar and has to develop new skills and a new way of thinking. Unable to eat due to emotional turmoil, she loses weight and becomes not only physically but mentally honed into a weapon against the Foundation. She is focused on uncovering the secrets that Foundation will kill to hide and avenging those she loved.
She makes friends along the way, each of whom helps her with some aspect of her growth and learning the skills she needs to survive. In the meantime, we begin to see snippets of Niall's life as they connect in dreams. Niall was a Templar who evaded the October 13th massacre. Just as Lucifer is a fallen angel, a "Son of the Morning", so Niall has been released by the Templars from all his vows except one. Eventually Grace's research leads her to Niall and together they take action, which I loved!
I really enjoyed this story. I could empathize with the things Grace went through when thrust into a hostile world she was ill equipped to handle. The book has been criticized for too much of Grace's internal musings, but she is on her own for much of the story so the chances for dialog are slim. I really enjoyed the research she did on the Knights Templar and I thought it was well integrated into the story. I enjoyed the various plot lines and how they converged. Others have also criticized the quick connection between Grace and Niall, but they had been bonded through dreams long before their meeting. I particularly loved the ending and the circular cause and effect of the time travel. There were enough plot twists and turns to keep me engaged until the very end.
My paperback copy of this novel is tattered from re-reading and the pages are starting to loosen. I was thrilled when this came out on audio and thoroughly enjoyed the listen! I know I will listen to this story again and again; Grace is one of my favorite Linda Howard characters.
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