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Cover Reveal and Editorial Review for "Lord of the Eyrie" by Katerina Dunne

Updated: Jan 3, 2022

Congratulations to Katerina Dunne for becoming the first author to publish with our new hybrid publishing company, Historium Press. Our graphic arts team is thrilled to unveil the new cover for Katerina's book, Lord of the Eyrie, to coincide with her editorial review posted below.



AUTHOR BIO:

Katerina Dunne is the pen-name of Katerina Vavoulidou. Originally from Athens, Greece, Katerina has been living in Ireland since 1999. She has a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Athens, an MA in Film Studies from University College Dublin and an MPhil in Medieval History from Trinity College Dublin. Together with her brother, George, she started writing short stories in her teenage years, just for family and friends, but did not take up writing seriously until 2016, when she started work on her first novel.


Katerina is passionate about history, especially medieval history, and her main area of interest is 13th to 15th century Hungary. When it comes to historical fiction, her favourite authors include Elizabeth Chadwick, Kate Innes, Christian Cameron and Bán Mór (the Hungarian author of the Hunyadi series of books) Although the main characters of her stories are fictional, Katerina uses real events and personalities as part of her narrative in order to bring to life the fascinating history of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, a location and time period not so well-known to English-speaking readers. Whether heroic warriors or fearless women, her characters face personal struggles while also fighting to defend their beloved country from external and internal enemies.


Katerina’s day job is in financial services, but in her free time she enjoys watching historically-themed movies and TV series. She is also a member of Medieval Armoured Combat Ireland and although not an active fighter, she has supported the group in many competitions and festivals in Ireland.


COVER REVEAL:
Designed by White Rabbit Arts, the official graphic arts team of The Historical Fiction Company
Custom Art Work by Paddy Shaw


BOOK BLURB:

Transylvania, Kingdom of Hungary, 1440:


Finally home after five years away, warrior-nobleman Sándor Szilágyi is met by a dying father, a resentful younger brother, his child-bride all grown up and the family estate raided by the Ottomans.


As he struggles to adjust to life as a landlord, Sándor's authority is challenged by two strong-minded and fearless women: Margit, his faithful and righteous wife, determined to keep him on the straight and narrow; and Anna, his sister-in-law, a scheming temptress bent on ruining him in order to take his land.


After committing a mortal sin and desperate to win back the woman he loves, Sándor seeks absolution by accepting his overlord’s summons to fight the Ottomans. But his obsession with war will lead him down a perilous path.


Loyalties are tested, danger lurks around every corner, and Sándor’s struggle to balance his duty to protect his land and family from his relatives’ greedy hands, as well as his duty to defend his country on the battlefield, will come at a terrible cost.

"In a world of chivalry and honour, Ms Dunne brings to life the harsh and raw reality of medieval 15th-century Hungary."

The Historical Fiction Company Review



EDITORIAL REVIEW:

It will not be easy. But if you listen to your people and respect them, they will respect you too. You must show them that you are not a haughty eagle, perched on this eyrie of a castle and preying upon the fruits of their labour, but a fair and compassionate master, who cares for them and values them.”


In a world of chivalry and honour, Ms Dunne brings to life the harsh and raw reality of medieval 15th-century Hungary. So often, historical novels are fixed in the settings of England and France, but this one shifts the story to a place and time not familiar to most historical readers, thus giving a fresh look at the time period while connecting readers to the familiar landscape of war, love, lust, betrayal, loss, and pain.


Sándor, the epitome of a medieval knight, arrives home to Southwestern Transylvania, to the castle of Szentimre, and a land ravished by the Ottoman armies. One by one, tragedies unfold before him upon his return, and he is thrust into the role of lord of the castle after his father dies of his injuries. And he returns to his bride, Margit, after four years of separation when he left her as a child of fourteen, and to his brother, Miklos, whose sour disposition of being passed over for an inheritance leaves a vast gorge between them. Now, Sándor must rise to the challenge of ruling the land with a firm, but gentle, hand, and to raise a family with Margit. But the days of his warring and of following his unhindered lusts bring distress to his home life as his devout Christian wife seeks an honourable marriage, and one of trust.

And Miklos seeks the attention of one of Sándor’s enemies, Anna, a devious woman who thought to make Sándor her husband after disposing two other husbands in her wake. Anna and Miklos marry, and have one thought on their mind... to find a way to bring Sándor and Margit down from their lofty perch.


And in the midst of satiating his lusts, Sándor succumbs and betrays his dear wife, even as she nearly loses her life bringing their son into the world. The world closes in around them, and he must leave her behind, desperate for forgiveness and absolution as he returns to the battlefields to fight off the Ottoman invasions. Again and again, they advance, and again and again, the armies of the King of Hungary fail. Sándor’s blood is spilt upon the ground and he suffers horrendous life-threatening wounds... and he views it as penance for the suffering he brought upon his marriage.


Even after his return home, once again, life is not done with them. Like the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, he must take arms against a sea of troubles, or else his enemies will shoot him down like a wounded eagle.


Had it all been in vain? No matter how sweet revenge felt, it had only lasted for a fleeting moment. It would never bring his father back. And no matter how satisfying victory was, it would never replace the fervour of his wife’s kisses or the thrill of her touch. But he had to become accustomed to this world because such was his life going to be thenceforth.’


With his wife finally beside him, they push onward to the future, determined to make a life for themselves despite the fierce opposition from without - the barbaric Ottoman empire - and from within - his own brother and his brother’s wife.


After suffering immense guilt and immeasurable grief, Sándor discovers a reason to live – his daughter, Margitka – and determines to shield and protect her just as a protective eagle, no matter if it means his own life.


In true Game of Thrones fashion, Ms Dunne sculpts this novel with a no-holds-barred storyline. The brutality of the battles is true to life, and you get an excoriated view of all the exposed muscle, blood, and bone strewn across the fields, the savagery of war. You also get a voyeuristic peek into the private life of a knight, one whose lifestyle in the far off lands while on Crusade moulds his way of thinking upon his return to a more Christian way of life – and this sort of thinking and manner nearly costs him his marriage. This, too, is presented in a rather stark, unabashed way which is probably quite accurate for the time period. There is no doubt, if you are a GOT fan, or even if you love the fan fiction spinning off from Martin’s books, then this is the book for you.


There were soldiers and horses spread on the field as far as the eye could see. The multitude of colours from the clothes, armour, shields, banners and horses blended with those of nature and created a massive moving tapestry. If it were not for the horrific loss of life, it would have looked beautiful.’


The imagery sent me rushing through the book in a fast pace as her prose propelled me through the battle scenes and the more intimate moments. Ms Dunne shows her skill and her love for the time period and for the locale in a very open and honest way. History shows that life is brutal, and that oppression, betrayal, and war is not a trivial thing; thus, Lord of the Eyrie renders this story as real as a book can get in portraying medieval life, so much so that sometimes the visual stimulation pops more than the characterization. Yet, this does not detract from the reader wanting to know more about the characters.


I was reminded of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, for while the raw imagery was there, the flow of the narrative bespoke his style of writing. This is by no means a mild book, or a good sit-by-the-fire type of book; this is a pure guts, lusts, and glory book, of which there is definitely an audience.


Lord of the Eyrie by Katerina Dunne receives four stars from The Historical Fiction Company.


Stay tuned for more information about the release date for this book, as well as more upcoming releases from Historium Press.




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