"A well told tale set in a pivotal time in Irish history"

UNLAWFUL is a historical novel set in 9th century Gaul, a.k.a. Ireland, about the time of the Norse raiders. Having been to Ireland, I know this time as one of interesting conflicts, where Danish and Norse invaders fought - and traded - with the people living there. Many cities, Dublin, for example, were founded in part by the Danes. Through battle and commerce, landless Norse often ended up making their homes in Ireland, to the point where anyone living there can no doubt trace their ancestry back to at least one colonizing army or another.

The story itself revolves around a woman named Kellach, hereditary queen of An Dun Geata, and a presumed Norse invader, Bruic the Badger. Bruic has come into An Dun Geata with his Norse army and taken it over by stealth, avoiding bloodshed. As such, he claims the place and Kellach as his servant. Kellach is a fiery maiden who does not take well to her new master in spite of the obvious attraction between them.

As it happens, they are not complete strangers. Bruic is himself a captive Gaul, stolen from his home when a child. On a raid with his masters, the then thirteen-year-old was present at a slaughter of Gaul villagers. He saved a small red-headed girl looking for her stolen mother. It was, of course, Kellach he'd saved. He remembers the fearless child and is delighted to find she has become a true beauty.

Kellach does not know what to make of Bruic. When they aren't fighting, he kisses her in such a way to make her wish for more. But marriage for her is not possible due to a curse, only removable by her lost mother. While Kellach has been married four times, she's never been to her marriage bed - each husband has died prior to that part of the wedding. Will Bruic risk his life with a cursed bride or will Kellach's mother be found? And what will they do about his twin sons, held hostage by Bruic's overlord as security for his loyalty?

While a convoluted story, UNLAWFUL is reasonably well told, with plenty of twists to hold attention. It is also interesting to see a historical tale about this violent and pivotal time in Irish history.

Reviewed by Janet Miller
Posted July 25, 2002


Butchery tainted their meeting. Slavery separated them. Deception reunited them in a battle of courage and conquest.

Deadlocked by a legend, Kellach must find her kidnapped mother to remove the Dark Druid's curse upon her and to save her people from the rampaging Norse. Bruic the Badger must find local trading ports for the Norse in order to save his sons, who are being held hostage by a Norseman, and to find his siblings lost during his youth. Neither has time for love. Ah! Fate and circumstance take the advantage away from both...


by Dorice Nelson

Novel Books, Inc.
January 25, 2002
ISBN #1931696837
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