The Execution (The Wintergrave Chronicles #1)

The Execution Book Cover The Execution
The Wintergrave Chronicles
Sharon Cramer
Historical Fiction
B & F Publishing
February 14, 2012
Paperback
356

Book 1 of the Wintergrave Chronicles:

Parallel lives are fated to collide in The Execution, a medieval thriller, dark adventure, and tragic love story set in fourteenth century France.

A young priest enters the prison cell of a condemned mercenary and is shocked to see the face of this murderer is his own—a mirror image of himself. Unknown to each other until now, the twins form a bond of brotherhood, sealed with their darkest secrets. But with only hours until the execution, the priest begins to question which man should truly be condemned. Should it be the ruthless killer—a boy from an orphanage who suffered the unimaginable—or himself, the man of God whose own tormented desires ended in tragedy? As the sun rises, the young priest knows what he must do. Only one man will die…but two men will be free.

 

The Execution was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The premise of The Execution is pretty interesting; twin brothers separated at childhood reunited under strange circumstances. Ravan, sold into the life of a mercenary, is set to be executed the next morning for murder. D’ata, raised in the priesthood and sent to give last confession to the convicted. Separated by the Black Death in 14th century France, the brothers learn of each other’s life stories.

Having the story told from two different perspectives, over two different lifetimes, made The Execution a unique story. It jumps back and forth between the two, so we see each brother’s story at the same point in time. Ravan’s story follows his start as a boy with a penchant for survival to life as a slave mercenary. These portions of the book are filled with action and adventure. Some parts feel more like a fantasy novel with Ravan’s unnatural skills, being almost superhuman in the feats he performs. Ravan’s story is both exciting and sad, showing how even demons will run when a good man goes to war.

D’ata’s portion of The Execution is a story of romance. Left on the steps of a church, he is raised into the priesthood by a rich family. His new family caring more for prestige than love, D’ata’s suffering is more emotional where Ravan’s was primarily physical. Falling head over heels for a young farmgirl, D’ata finds his faith tested between familial bonds and true love. These portions of the story were not as action-packed, but still exciting in their own way. There was not as much physical danger so much as the sense of loss D’ata and his love will feel. Of the two brothers, D’ata’s ending also felt more satisfying (though that could change in the rest of the trilogy).

Despite the lives of Ravan and D’ata being very different, there are common themes between the two. Both brothers are forced into lives they neither chose nor wanted. Both will find true families in people they trust, not necessarily those who raise them. Both will experience love and loss on their life paths. And both will end up in the dungeon the morning before the execution, telling their stories and pondering their fates. The dynamic woven between two different genres makes The Execution a fantastic read and shows how different lives can intertwine.

October 15, 2017

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