"Sometimes I don't know who I am, but those times when it's been just you and me with no assignment getting in the way, those are the times when I come closest to being who I want to be."
Sold into slavery as a child she has never known her name or age. She becomes whatever Thomas, her owner, tells her to be in order to carry out each assignment. While on assignment she encounters a tall and handsome stranger who attempts to take the document she has stolen.
Gillen is intrigued by the nameless woman who has hindered his mission. As fate would have it they meet not once but twice more. Working undercover, Gillen finds himself needing the help of the slave he has come to call Eudocia. Impressed by her skills and wit he seeks her help to turn the political tide in Thebes. In the midst of waging a war Eudocia and Gillen find themselves fighting for the innocent, a brighter future, and a chance at love.
thoughts & feelings
I loved Of Sword and Shadow and struggled to put it down. I was so captivated that I finished the entire book in two days and have already pre-ordered the second book. It's that good!
I was a little nervous about reading Of Sword and Shadow because it is set in 1379 Greece. I have very little knowledge of this time period and was nervous that I would be lost in the setting and understanding the plot. A.L. Sowards has done a wonderful job describing the setting and lifestyles in a way that is easy to understand and visualize. I also love that she included a glossary and historical background. I used these quite frequently at the beginning of the story but was soon so engrossed that I forgot about them.
One thing that I loved about this book was that A.L. Sowards described life from different points of view. All of these points of view help to create a well rounded story and I felt like I truly understood each of the characters motivations.
One of my favorite things about this novel was the progression of the main character we come to know as Eudocia. I loved seeing the world through her point of view and getting to see her attitude and understanding shift. Eudocia has been a slave since the age of three or four and understands her place and role in society. She has never dared to dream of being free because she knows how unlikely that is. Her entire life has been dictated by Thomas, her owner, and she knows that he is not about to free her or allow her to buy her freedom. I love that she chooses to see the good in her life and that she knows that things could easily be worse.
Enter Gillen, a handsome man who turns her world upside down...in a good way. I love that he takes the time to understand Eudocia and what life is like for her. I also love that he allows her room to ask questions and helps her understand what life in like outside of Thebes and all that life has to offer. A.L. Sowards did a fantastic job weaving together their friendship and letting it blossom in a natural and believable way.
Steam Level: clean, kissing
Trigger Warnings: violence, death, physical abuse, war
Title: Of Sword and Shadow
Series: Duchy of Athens #1
Author: A.L. Sowards
Rating: 5/5 stars