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After the Crescent Strike

She could never go back to the innocent girl who had laughed without pain and loved without effort, but here, among the fir, oak, and beech, she could almost touch the girl she'd once been.


The Balkans, 1371

After conquering the Serbian army in battle, bands of Ottoman warriors terrorize the land, leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake. As one of the few survivors of a deadly attack on her village, Magdalena is determined to protect her newly orphaned niece. When a group of battle-weary Serb warriors offers to lead Magdalena and her charge to safety, a flame of hope flickers to life for the desperate woman, burning brighter when she spots a familiar face among the group: Miladin, the man she once loved—and lost.

Following a devastating defeat on the battlefield, Miladin resolves to return home to Rivak and pledge his loyalty to the new župan, Konstantin, the young son of the slain leader who led Miladin to war. As Miladin travels back from the Maritsa River Valley to offer aid and allegiance to the inexperienced youth, he expects the way will be fraught with danger, but he never dreams that the journey will reunite him with his first love.

Even as Magdalena and Miladin rekindle a romance once doomed by youth and circumstance, hidden threats draw ever closer. Before they can truly be safe, they must face a ruthless enemy who will stop at nothing to seize power.

Thoughts & Feelings

I have been DYING to read the Balkan Legends books ever since A.L. Sowards released her first teaser. The teasers have had me hooked and counting down the days until this series starts to release.

It's no secret that A.L. Sowards is one of my favorite historical fiction writers and every time I read one of her books it solidifies her spot at the top of my list. She has an incredible ability to write stories of tragedy mixed with faith that just suck you in, break your heart, and have you speed reading to see out how it all ends.

I made the horrid mistake of trying to read this book in a public place. I mean it's a novella how much can my heart be broken? A lot. It can be broken quite significantly. I found myself rapidly blinking trying to hold in the tears, in a very public place, while still trying to read so that the heartbreaking moment would come to an end. So, just a word of caution to all of you. Don't read this book in a public place because crying is a very real possibility.

Now that you have been adequately warned let's get to the good stuff!

In all fairness I really can't say much. After the Crescent Strike is a novella and you guys know I absolutley refuse to give anything away. Please forgive my vaugueness on this one.

The one thing I can say is that I loved the characters in this story! I don't know how she did it but A.L. Sowards did a wonderful job introducing us to the characters, despite the fast pace of the story. I love that we get a glimpse into their current lives as well as their distant and not-so-distant pasts. Getting to see into their pasts helped me understand the characters. Especially for Magdalena. I love how raw these characters are and that we get to see them wrestle with hard things.

There are so many other things I want to say but I know spoilers will want to come out. So, if you've read, or are reading, After the Crescent Strike and need to talk about it send me a message on Instagram and we can talk about all the things.

Book Information

Title: After the Crescent Strike

Series: The Balkan Legens #0.5

Author: A.L. Sowards

Release Date: March 5, 2024

Book Tags



Steam Level

clean, kissing

Content & Trigger Warnings

War Content

After the Crescent Strike contains battle scenes dealing with hand-to-hand combat and death. No gruesome details are given but we are given basic details so that we can fully understand the chaos, intensity, and destruction of these scenes. A few injuries are mentioned and the state of a few corpses are given in basic details. You know what's going on but there graphic details are left out.

Amanda does a great job handling these scenes with care while also giving enough information for us to understand the scenes and their significance.


One of the characters has suffered a number of miscarriages. They are mentioned several times throughout the story.

Religious Themes

Religion and faith play a major role in this story. It is very similar to the religious themes A.L. Sowards wrote into Before the Fortress Falls.

The Balkan Legends Series

After the Crescent Strike

Beneath A Crescent Shadow - Releasing June 4, 2024

Beyond the Crescent Sky - Releasing January 2025

Purchasing Links


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